“Solar Faithful” to Bring Solar Power to Three Local Houses of Worship

“Solar Faithful” to Bring Solar Power to Three Local Houses of Worship

by Emily Drennen

The City of Ann Arbor Energy Office, partnering with Michigan Interfaith Power and Light (MIPL), has been awarded $10,000 in technical assistance from the U.S. Department of Energy to participate in the SunShot Initiative‘s Solar in Your Community Challenge, a nationwide solar contest. The goal of the partnership, over the next 18 months, is to empower three houses of worship with funding strategies so that they can install solar power.

“We are very pleased to work with the Ann Arbor Energy Office on this project in the city of Ann Arbor,” said Bob Chapman, executive director of MIPL. “Investing in renewables is a way for houses of worship to practice good earth stewardship and good financial stewardship.”

The funds will allow the “Solar Faithful” team to access consultants skilled in team coaching, outreach and marketing and legal and technical issues. Funds will also help implement innovative funding mechanisms such as crowdfunding and social investing, which ease financial barriers experienced by many houses of worship and nonprofits. Houses of worship represent a particularly large solar opportunity since they are plentiful (over 150 in the Ann Arbor area alone) and tend to have larger-than-average roof spaces compared to many nonprofit organizations. The lessons learned from this pilot project will inform approaches replicable for all types of nonprofit organizations interested in going solar.

The Solar Faithful team will join hundreds of other SunShot Initiative teams from around the country in their pursuit of solar projects and programs that expand solar access to low- and moderate-income households and nonprofit organizations. All teams will compete for $1 million in final prizes, which will be awarded by judges based on each project or program’s innovation, impact and replicability.

Ann Arbor churches, synagogues and temples that have ample south-facing roof space or a flat and exposed roof and is interested in adding solar, can contact MIPL at 238-537-9175 or [email protected] for more information. Those interested can get involved as well on Twitter by following @solarfaithful.

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