Browncroft Community Church Helps its Congregation Go Solar
by Ruth Marchetti
Take a drive past Browncroft Community Church and you won’t see solar panels on their beautiful blue roof, yet this faith community is saving money and caring for the gift of God’s creation through their share in a solar farm.
Since nonprofits, such as churches, do not pay taxes, they can’t benefit from the kind of tax breaks that make solar energy an affordable option for businesses and homeowners. However, solar farms depend on consumer demand for green energy sources that require RG&E and other providers to buy more of their energy from fossil fuel free sources. The solar companies offer generous rebates and significant price reductions in order to line up enough consumers to make their business viable. Brad Dayton, Operations & Facilities Coordinator at Browncroft, says that since signing up with Ampion, the congregation has had significant savings in their electric bill.
Although Browncroft worked directly with Ampion, Rochester Area Interfaith Climate Action (RAICA) has been reaching out to faith communities throughout the county to encourage more participation in the program. According to RAICA, signing up for community solar saves money while protecting the environment and supporting local jobs, since the solar farms are located in our area. Houses of Worship can also choose to invite congregants to sign up if they choose.
Since finding subscribers is a large portion of the costs associated with a community solar project, some community solar companies, including Ampion, are offering donations to faith communities just for signing up. There is no cost to sign up, subscriptions are typically renewed after one year and can be cancelled without any fees, usually with a few months advance notice. For more information go to raica.net.
This isn’t the first time Browncroft Community Church has worked to reduce their carbon footprint. Last summer all the parking lot lights were changed to reduce the amount of energy required to keep congregants safe in the dark.
Thank you Browncroft Community Church for supporting our local economy and setting an example of faithful stewardship.
As the Town of Penfield moves forward in choosing a CCA administrator, Color Penfield Green is hopeful they will choose to work with one who offers a solar option so that all eligible residents and faith communities will automatically be enrolled in a community solar program.
We invite Penfield residents to let us know what their religious community is doing to adapt to the urgency of climate change and care for the gift of the earth. Email us at ColorPenfieldGreen@gmail.com.