What Impact Will the Demand for Solar in Churches Have?
- Mar 7, 2022 6:03 pm GMT
Solar power is currently booming and becoming more affordable, accessible and prevalent for businesses, nonprofits and homeowners across the country, according to the U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
Natural gas is costly, which is part of the reason why electricity bills are increasing for many Americans. Sometimes, these costs are too high for people to afford. There’s been a sharpened focus on renewable energy, specifically solar power, as homeowners have been quick to adopt PV solar panel systems for their homes.
Churches and other places of worship are considering making solar panels an integral part of their operations. These buildings are designed to accommodate many worshippers, which requires reliable power for lighting, cooling, heating and even an audio system used to deliver a service.
With solar power becoming mainstream, how will this increased demand impact churches?
Increasing Demand for Solar Energy and Benefits
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), renewable energy is expected to account for 95% of the increase in global energy capacity through 2026. Solar technology will provide more than half of that capacity. In essence, solar power is the electricity source of the future.
This increased demand for solar energy is expected to continue as many countries are concerned about relying on carbon-intensive power generation, as it contributes to global warming, ultimately leading to climate change.
Several advantages come with leveraging solar energy, including:
- Lower energy bills
- More sustainable than traditional power sources
- Job creation
- Low maintenance costs
- Installation nearly anywhere
- Improving technology
- Various applications
Churches can reap the benefits of solar power. Churches across the country have gone green to clean up the environment and reduce energy bills. Leveraging solar panels can lower monthly electricity operating costs, but it is important to recognize that an investment is not something to take lightly.
How Increased Solar Demand Will Influence Churches
Every penny counts for a nonprofit organization, such as a church or other place of worship. Lowering high operating costs allows churches to use their funding to benefit congregations and local communities.
Five years ago, First Presbyterian Church in Elko, Nevada, installed a solar panel system and took advantage of a rebate offered by the state. The church initially paid about $120,000, but the refund brought that cost down to $71,000. Post-installation, it saw its energy bill cut in half and it was expected the system would pay for itself in only a few years.
Because there’s increased demand for solar power across various sectors of the economy, it would be challenging for churches to ignore considering this type of sustainable investment. Churches can choose from three different approaches when going solar, including:
- Outright purchase: This requires high upfront fees and could cost even more if the church is exceptionally large.
- Lease: A lease for solar panels would allow churches to pay a flat fee, making for a predictable energy bill every month.
- Power purchase agreement (PPA): A church with a PPA would only pay for the generated electricity it uses. Maintenance and operation would be up to the seller.
Churches generally make sanctuary improvements every 30 years on average. Integrating a church with solar panels could modernize the place of worship and even encourage younger populations, who often prefer a contemporary design.
One survey conducted by State of the Plate, an organization that measures the impact of donations in churches, found that two-thirds of self-identified church leaders say their giving rates have dropped due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Brian Kluth, State of the Plate’s founder, said the declines are “pretty steep.”
Because churches are not receiving as much from their congregations, it’s crucial to cut costs wherever possible. Adopting solar energy may be the solution.
More Churches May Use Solar Panels in the Future
The savings generated by installing solar panels can help churches achieve their community and mission work.
Aside from cost reductions, churches would also set good environmental stewardship examples where their members could follow suit. The benefits of solar energy for churches are many, so more places of worship will likely consider adopting solar to power their operations.
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