Faith in solar: Places of worship doubled their installed solar capacity over three years

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Interfaith Power & Light (IPL) conducted a new survey to quantify installed solar on congregations in the U.S.—and found a doubling from three years ago. After interviewing hundreds of congregations and partner organizations, the group documented more than 770 faith communities with solar for a combined capacity of 45 megawatts – approaching the installed on-site capacity of major retailers like Kohl’s and Costco.

“We were stunned by the rise. We knew congregations were interested, since we get many requests each week for information and recommendations about solar, but had no idea that solar usage had expanded so rapidly” said IPL President Rev. Susan Hendershot. “It really shows the impact we can have when we act together,” she said.

The Catholic Diocese in San Diego is a national leader, with more solar installed than any other state except for the balance of California. The Diocese has a total of at least 5 MW installed.

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“Our solar generating program in the Diocese of San Diego shows the power of doing well by doing good. In his encyclical, Laudato Si, Pope Francis reminds us of our responsibility to care for the Earth as our ‘Common Home.’ Here in San Diego, in addition to our constant efforts to recycle and transition to sustainably sourced products, we’ve installed 51 solar power plants at a number of schools, parishes, and our Diocesan Pastoral Center, ” said Shirley Pajanor, Chief Financial Officer at the Diocese. “That’s good for the environment, but it’s also significantly reduced what we pay for electricity.”

“We are proud that so many faith communities are living out their calling to care for Creation, freeing up resources to invest in their mission, and leading the way to a clean energy future.” Said Rev. Hendershot. “Solar congregations are casting a vision for the kind of world in which they want to live, and then carrying out that vision with practical application.”

Read the full report here.

— Solar Builder magazine


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