Solar Congregations

Our partners, the Maryland & Greater Washington Interfaith Power and Light, an organization that works with hundreds of congregations to respond to climate change, are a great resource to help congregations in the Maryland-DC-Virgina area to go solar.

To learn more about congregations going solar, check out their guide, Learning from Solar Congregations.

These are a few examples of projects by community congregations in Maryland.

University Park Community Solar-University Church of the Brethren

This 21 kw system was one of the first community investor solar project models in the country and was completed in 2011. The solar panels produce about 25% more electricity than is consumed annually by the church and because of the state’s net metering law the investor group now receives a payment for the surplus electricity from PEPCO. Contact person is Jim Gekas at jcg20782@yahoo.com 301-864-2734

Greenbelt Community Solar-Greenbelt Baptist Church

This is a community investor project with a power purchase agreement between the LLC and church completed in 2011. The solar photovoltaic panels on the church roof produce 22 kws. An offshoot of Greenbelt solar project is the new Washington Ethical solar installation financed by its membership and organized under the Ethical Community Solar LLC. Contact person for both projects is Steve Skolnik at sdskolnik@gmail.com. 301-503-0815 101 Greenhill Rd Greenbelt MD

Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation
This congregation in Bethesda, MD installed a 44 kW system. They chose a financing model where an outside company owns the project for the first 20 years of the system, known as a Power Purchase Agreement. At the end of those 20 years, possibly less, the congregation will own the panels and the clean energy they generate.

Homewood Friends Meeting
This community project in Baltimore, MD was born out of a some community members wanting to reduce their carbon footprint. They started with energy efficiency and eventually moved into getting solar panels.
Given that they could not use the 30% tax credit because they are a nonprofit, their biggest obstacle was raising enough funds for the project.
They managed to get a discount from their installer, Astrum Solar, and set out to fundraise the rest. They held community fundraisers, bake sales, concerts, sold t-shirts, they got a small grants, and their trustees chipped. Finally they raised enough funds and in 2010 installed a community owned 7 kW system.

Tikvat Israel Congregation

In December 2012, the Tikvat Israel Congregation went solar by installing 350 solar panels across the synagogue’s roof. The panels will produce 120,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year, around 48% per the  synagogue’s electricity consumption.

The project started in November 2011, when the congregation started thinking about solar as a way demonstrate their commitment to environmental stweardship and save some money in the process.

To go solar, the synagogue signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA),  a financing model where that allowed the congregation to go solar without spending any of their funds. With a PPA, an outside company, Solbright Renewable Energy in this case, owns the panels and the electricity produced, and then sells it back to the congregation at a lower price than regular energy rates. This allows the synagogue to have panels in their roof, power their congregation with clean, renewable energy, and to save about $2,000 a year. without any upfront costs. The congregation will own the panels and the electricity they generate in 20 years.

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