Let There Be Solar Light on Churches and Temples

Many of you are getting ready or are far into the holidays. And yes, I will make another pitch for our top ten list of the best solar gifts for this holiday season. 

During this holiday season, you may be reflecting on what we can do in our homes and businesses to go green or put onto our roofs solar home panels. But it doesn’t need to stop there. Why not generate solar energy from our churches and synagogues? This isn’t a new idea; it is just an idea whose time has come.

Now you are thinking that some church roofs may not be the best for solar panels. Some of the traditional churches like St. Peter’s Basilica may not have the best roof for solar panels. And minarets are definitely a no go. But all of those temples and churches in the US with large flat roofs; they are just beckoning us to throw down thousands upon thousands of kilowatts of solar power. 


St. Paul's May Not Be Ideal for Solar

Last night we attended a reception where members of various faiths and denominations came together to talk about what they are doing as part of their congregations to go green. And the director of the Interfaith Power & Light talked about how churches and temples are going green throughout the United States. The organization calls it a “religious response to global warming.”

I talked with one rabbi whose congregation is going solar. The congregation through its green committee did its homework, found an investor and issued a request for proposal—got a good and reliable installer to install the solar panels. It will be a big system, something like 50 kilowatts, roughly ten times the size of an average home solar energy system. The investor will get a reasonable rate of return and the temple will receive a guaranteed discount from prevailing utility electricity rates. It sounds good for everyone–and the environment.

If you can’t make solar energy work for your home, but your congregation has a roof to host a solar energy system, you may want to think about talking with your congregation about it can do to support clean power.