Now Available: Video of September’s PA IPL Statewide Monthly Meeting and Program!

Solar September

September’s PA IPL Statewide program focused on Solar arrays.

Solar is growing by leaps and bounds and congregations are keeping pace by installing solar at an ever increasing rate all over the country. They are financing it through a variety of creative options but the many financing options, their pros and cons, and what is best for each property is often confusing.

Are you thinking of going solar at your congregation? Are you interested in solar for yourself? September’s meeting brought together solar experts who answered many questions from different perspectives. Watch to learn how you can install solar on your property, on your congregation’s property, or otherwise participate in the growing solar sector to combat climate change.

Speakers:

Interfaith Power & Light has a new Solar Financing Guide for Congregations! Read our informative overview on financing options first. Find the Guide and check out all our Solar Resources here.

Solar September: PA IPL Statewide Monthly Meeting

Join PA IPL for our Statewide Monthly Meeting and Program taking place on Monday, September 20th at 7:00pm!

This month’s meeting and program will focus on Solar arrays.

Solar is growing by leaps and bounds and congregations are keeping pace by installing solar at an ever increasing rate all over the country. They are financing it through a variety of creative options but the many financing options, their pros and cons, and what is best for each property is often confusing.

Are you thinking of going solar at your congregation? Or are you interested in solar for yourself? September’s meeting will bring together solar experts who can answer all of your questions from different perspectives. Register for the meeting to explore how you can install solar on your property, on your congregation’s property, or otherwise participate in the growing solar sector to combat climate change.

Interfaith Power & Light has a new Solar Financing Guide for Congregations! Read our informative overview on financing options first. Find the Guide and check out all our Solar Resources here.

Register Here for the September meeting. You will receive an email providing the Zoom link to the meeting.

There is no fee for this program, but a suggested $5 donation will help us keep doing this work.

Now Available: Video of August’s PA IPL Statewide Monthly Meeting and Program!

Video of August’s PA IPL Statewide Monthly Meeting and Program is now available! Click here to view.

August’s PA IPL Statewide Meeting and Program focused on the life of Thomas Berry and the film “Thomas Berry: The Great Story.” Thomas Berry was a monk, cultural historian, author, teacher, and mystic who linked spirituality with ecology. In addition to our regular conversation, the program featured talks by Karen Bernard and PA IPL Board Member Wanda Guthrie who are experts on the life and work of Thomas Berry.

Registration is now open for PA IPL’s September Statewide Monthly Meeting and Program.
This month’s meeting will focus on solar arrays. Solar is growing by leaps and bounds and congregations are keeping pace by installing solar at an ever increasing rate all over the country. They are financing it through a variety of creative options but the many financing options, their pros and cons, and what is best is often confusing.

Are you thinking of going solar at your congregation? Are you interested in solar for yourself?
September’s meeting will bring together solar experts who can answer all of your questions from different perspectives. Join us on Monday, September 20th at 7:00pm and explore how you can install solar on your property, on your congregation’s property, or otherwise participate in the growing solar sector to combat climate change.

Interfaith Power & Light has a new Solar Financing Guide for Congregations!
Read our informative overview on financing options first. Find the Guide and check out all our Solar Resources here.

What can congregations do to offset their carbon footprint, fossil fuel use / greenhouse gas emissions, and climate change impact?

Teach Others 

  • It is important to preach about our moral and ethical responsibility to live actively as stewards of creation and then seek ways to tend to the garden of creation. This can be from the pulpit, a green team, youth and adult education, or by becoming engaged in organizations such as your state’s IPL. In this way the impact of sermons, film screenings, education, and actively living as stewards shine as exemplars for others. The impact flows out through the congregation so that the individuals can adopt the same practices and they act as agents of change in the world. One congregation building becomes a community of care, and the impact is multiplied. 

Help Others 

  • Assist frontline and low-income communities to adopt practices that offset the same carbon footprints/ emissions/ impacts. Not all communities have the same resources. Working with, and I very deliberately mean with, other congregations can further directly spread the impact of your congregation’s efforts. 

Creation Care 

  • Plant trees on your congregation’s property or anywhere you can. PA IPL and the Chesapeake Bay Fund, as well as many other sources, will provide low or no cost trees for you to plant. Not only do these plantings mitigate flooding and support native biodiversity but they also serve as a natural form of carbon capture. Paralleling the plantings, the removal of invasive species and the planting native gardens further support biodiversity and carbon capture with minimal if any addition to your carbon footprint.

Community and Vegetable Gardens 

  • Not only do such projects serve as a unifying, education, and fun activity for the community which encourages mental health and a connection to our natural environment and food source it also can help reduce meat consumption as well food transportation. Much of our food is transported long distances and stored in large stores both of which produce significant carbon footprints while the growing of industrial scale crops can also produce significant emissions through the use of fertilizers and industrial equipment. This is putting aside the carbon and environmental impact of the meat industry. Gardens can serve as a further method of natural carbon capture just like tree planting.  

Investments and Divest 

  • If the congregation or its members have investments in fossil fuel industry it is important to divest and then re-invest in green sustainable renewable alternatives such as solar, wind, geothermal, etc. as well as companies which truly support these industries. The future of our economy is underway, and investments can help accelerate the transition so that we can mitigate the worst impacts of climate change. The industry and economy will follow the money.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle 

  • It may be cliché, but it is absolutely important that the congregation and its members take this adage to heart. When planning and holding events or regular activities it is important to consider the ways in which we can reduce our consumption, purchase things we can reuse, or at least things we can recycle. The impact of the congregation can be multiplied by the adoption of such practices by the members. This will again assist in the transition to a new economy. 

Purchase low carbon goods 

  • Paralleling the three R’s the purchase of locally grown and made goods as well as those which utilize the fewest chemicals, and the least harmful practices here and abroad is an important larger step. Even if we use less, or can reuse, or recycle an item the whole life of the products is important.

Weatherization 

  • An energy audit, especially for older structures can be an important step, and PA IPL has someone who does an initial assessment for free and has expertise in congregational structures. There are however also simple ways we can weatherize today. It is important to check and maintain your HVAC systems regularly so that it is functioning efficiently to reduce cost and waste. Additionally, congregations can install programable thermostats which control use throughout the day and according to temperature changes. The efficiency of HVAC systems and thermostats are increased by the proper door, wall, and window insulation all of which aid in the efficiency of the system.  

Energy Efficiency 

  • Other efficiency are the purchase of LED light bulbs, smart switch, and high efficiency appliances while also removing ghost loads, which draw energy even when not in use.  

Purchase Sustainable Green Renewable Energy 

  • Many competitive energy options exist through state energy exchanges which allow you to purchase part or all of your energy use from sustainable green renewable energy sources.

Installation of Sustainable Green Renewable Energy 

  • Not all congregations are in the position to purchase their own installation, but solar arrays, windmills, and geothermal systems are all viable options which offer financial benefits and serve as an example for the broader public but also are obviously large commitments to stewardship. PA IPL and others are able to assist congregations in navigating the financing options and the process. In September PA IPL is having an event with experts to specifically discuss how to purchase a solar array.

Advocate 

  • While not all congregations or individuals are interested in getting involved in advocacy, it is important to remember that advocating on behalf of climate justice and sustainable green renewable energy with elected officials and policy makers is a vital part of our impact. Too often congregations are too worried to speak up for their moral and ethical commitments. If we do not speak up someone else will speak for us. If we do not act we are not protecting ourselves, others, and our environment as God expects of us. Without changes in the ways governments (local, state, and federal) and industries operate there is only so much an individual can do. People, government, and industry are the three legs of the solution. 

Other Resources

PA IPL also has a congregation tool kit which allows congregations to explore how to do this for themselves. Look for updates on our website.

IPL Cool Congregation Startup Kit

EPA Energy Star for Congregations Workbook

Clean Energy Investment Resources

Divestment Resources

Congregation Examples

In addition to the IPL Cool Congregation there are many examples of what has been done across PA and the USA. Christ Covenant Church in Harleysville for example, installed a large ground based solar array which covers on average 90% of their energy use for multiple buildings, new, old, and modified. Solar arrays at congregations such as Christ Covenant serve as an educational tool for the congregation, especially the youth education programs, and will in the course of its 30 year lifespan of the array produce more than double the value of the upfront investment of the congregation. Moreover, if Pennsylvania had a better community solar or SRAC (solar renewable energy credit) policy the energy production in the summer which is 2 to 3 times the usage would have made the solar array even more profitable. On August 27th, 2021 PA IPL held a solar tour at Christ Covenant with elected officials and others. There is a video on PA IPL’s website which is a combination of video from this tour and a second tour in Allegany County.  PA IPL hopes to invite other congregations in the future to join us at Christ Covenant and elsewhere to tour these installations and see the greening congregations are doing to reduce consumption, adopt alternative energy sources, and live actively as stewards of creation.

RECORDINGS AVAILABLE: Free Webinars from IPL National

Recordings Available:

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IPL National will be offering three free webinars this week to learn more about Solar for Houses of Worship, to discuss upcoming opportunities to address existing environmental and economic crises, and to learn some tips for setting up meetings with your elected officials and lobbying for climate action.

  • (EVENT HAS PASSED) Solar for Houses of Worship on February 23rd at 1pm eastern/noon central/11am mountain/10am pacific
    Whether you are a clergy leader, facilities manager, or an active congregant, join us for a webinar to learn how to make solar power possible for your house of worship. IPL National is partnering with California IPL (CIPL) to bring you this webinar. Collective Sun, a company that helps nonprofits fund solar projects across the country, will talk about solar financing options and project management best practices that apply to any state. Two of their satisfied congregational clients – one in California and one in Massachusetts – will be on the webinar to share their experiences. CIPL and its member congregations have been on the forefront of solar energy adoption for two decades and we can learn from their experience.
  • Digital “New Day” Rally on TODAY 2/24 at 3pm EST/2pm CST/1pm mountain/12pm PST
    The climate community across the nation will (virtually) rally together to tell legislators it’s #TimeToAct on Climate. During the New Day Rally we will discuss upcoming opportunities to address the existing crisis of the economic recession, environmental injustices, COVID recovery and climate emergency. The rally will feature dynamic speakers including Mustafa Santiago Ali (National Wildlife Federation), Latricea Adams (Black Millennials for Flint), Justin Onwenu (Sierra Club Michigan Chapter) and Yoca Arditi-Rocha (The Cleo Institute). Join the conversation!

Register here for the digital rally on 2/24.

  • Lobby Training Webinar on February 25th at 5pm EST/4pm CST/3pm mountain/2pm PST
    Join Interfaith Power & Light to learn some tips for setting up meetings with your elected officials and lobbying for climate action. This training will be geared towards beginners, but will have information that is helpful to everyone. We’ll have experts who will lead you through the key steps to be an effective faith advocate for equitable climate solutions, and we’ll brief you on our faith-climate platform and key federal policies.

Register here for the lobby training webinar on 2/25.

Typically recordings are available to registrants who cannot attend the live events and PA IPL will post them as soon as they are available.

Central Pennsylvania Virtual Solar Tour

If you are looking to gain more information regarding going solar in 2021 think about attending the PA IPL co-sponsored Envinity/Sierra Club – Central Pennsylvania Virtual Solar Tour Tonight at 7 PM EST – 9 PM EST.

What’s it like to GO SOLAR?  Learn from real people what the solar journey looks like and why it’s rewarding for home and business owners.

Whether you’re curious about making a solar investment because of climate change, energy independence, or financial benefits, THIS EVENT IS FOR YOU!

You could win one of the following!
– FREE Energy Audit
– $250 gift card at ORGANIC Climbing, Freeze Thaw Cycles or Tussey Mountain Outfitters
– $50 Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks giftcard
* Must be present to win

Register here to get the Zoom link!

We hope to see you there!