December 15th, 2016 by Aisha Abdelhamid
Originally published on EdenKeeper.org
A community outreach program in Connecticut called Solarize with Faith is helping faith group members display their creation care by putting solar on their roofs. Their beautiful motto? “Stewardship in our hearts. Solar on our roofs.”
What is Solarize With Faith?
“Sparked” by the Connecticut Green Bank, Solarize with Faith is an offshoot of the highly successful Solarize CT program that has helped make Connecticut a leading state in the transition to solar power. Through its community-supported programs, over 2400 residents of Connecticut in 73 communities have installed solar panels with Solarize CT.
Branching into faith communities, Solarize with Faith is a natural match for folks wanting to express their care for God’s creation, Mother Nature, and the well-being of our Earth. While promoting environmental stewardship through this faith group-sponsored program, members not only get easy access to solar panels for their roof.
Solarize with Faith notes that additional benefits include:
• Cash flow positive from the beginning
• $0 down financing
• Insulation from ever-increasing energy costs
• A 25-year warranty
Respect for the Interdependent Web of All Existence
On Sunday, December 11, The Unitarian Universalist Society: East (UUS:E) is hosting a statewide informational meeting in Manchester, Connecticut. Hoping for every CT house of worship to have a representative attending their meeting, the UUS:E Sustainable Living Committee (SLC) offers a terrific example for participants to learn first-hand about going solar.
Helping to put into action the UU Seventh Principle, “Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part,” the SLC helps UUS:E “incorporate ‘green’ thinking and actions into all areas of programming.” A few wonderful examples include a Green Sanctuary program, a recycling program, purchasing recycled and earth friendly supplies, composting, and growing an organic vegetable garden.
Additionally, UUS:E notes that they purchase only 100% clean energy, have installed a geothermal HVAC system to heat and cool their entire building, and most recently, members are excited to share their successful installation of solar panels on the Meetinghouse roof.
An Inspirational Partnership to Propel Solar Energy
SmartPower, a not-for-profit organization administers the Solarize Connecticut programs, including Solarize with Faith. Its mission is “to encourage more residential solar electric installations to reduce energy use, improve the environment, and create jobs by increasing the use of solar technologies.”
In an inspirational partnership to propel solar energy, SmartPower is agreeing to promote participating faith communities in media stories, on its website, at presentations, and through social media. The participating faith communities, in return, agree to designate a contact person to coordinate group participation with SmartPower in joint outreach activities.
Additionally, participating faith communities will assist SmartPower in selecting the best solar installer for its members. Installers are invited to submit bids and provide quotes for reduced pricing to Solarize with Faith members. A single solar installer will be selected by members through a competitive selection process that will be finalized by the Connecticut Green Bank.
Selection of the solar installer is based on “information about the company, experience in Solarize program, the per watt pricing of the standard solar offer, additional costs adders for modifications to the base solar offer, the capacity of the installers, the reputation of the companies and the wages and benefits provided to employees.”
The goal of Solarize with Faith is to help each participating faith community to become a “leader in residential solar electric installations in the State of Connecticut.” SmartPower is offering to support faith community volunteers by providing a Solarize with Faith banner, help with drafting press releases, newsletter articles, letters to the editor, holding bi-weekly conference calls, and help with all activities. In return, faith community volunteers are responsible for spearheading outreach activities in their community.
This is an exciting and innovative type of partnership to help propel the adoption of clean energy in the US. For such a small state, Connecticut is setting a very big example for all of us. This model is proving very successful and we will likely be seeing many houses of worship leading America’s transition to clean, renewable energy. Amen!
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