Covenant Lutheran Church installs 228 solar panels

The solar panels sit beside the Church

A year from now, Covenant Lutheran Church is expected to have cut down 82 tons of carbon dioxide, which is the equivalent to planting 1,264 trees.

That’s because the church, 1525 N. Van Buren St., is taking steps to become more renewable and sustainable, having installed an array of 228 solar panels from Synergy Renewable Energy that got up and running Nov. 19. The panels, on the church’s northeast side are expected to save the church $10,000 a year in energy, project manager Ryan Harkins told the Hub

The church’s array is the second-largest in the City of Stoughton, trailing behind a Public Works building system of panels, he said.

Fulfilling a third of the church’s $167,000 array investment was a 150 panel donation valued at $22,200 from the Couillard Solar Foundation, $20,000 WPPI Energy grant and a $13,000 Focus on Energy cash back incentive, he said. The Covenant Lutheran Church Foundation footed the rest of the bill.

He said Covenant is projected to pay off its investment in nine years, because of its ability to offset the church’s reliance on electricity from utility sources.

The ability to save money through a renewable energy source, and putting use to the plot of land next to the church, incentivized Mike Gilbert, property committee chairman, along with other advocates, to bring the idea of solar panels to the church’s council member.

He said he was enthusiastic about the prospect of switching out energy made from fossil fuels such as coal, to something cleaner and with less carbon emissions.

“As a church, we care about the environment,” Gilbert said. “We installed the solar array to help preserve and protect it.”

It was the notion of cutting down emissions, as well as using the solar array as a way to educate the Stoughton community, that aligned with Covenant Pastor Sara Rabe’s vision for further embracing the church’s forward-thinking philosophy.

“This solar array is an example of a forward faith, and how we think and how we act sustainably,” Rabe said. “It’s not only for the vitality of our own congregation and making us sustainable, it’s for the health of creation.”

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