Visalia, CA (PRWEB) June 26, 2012
The formula just made sense. With 6,000 square feet of roof space and a gym and worship center with south-sloping roofs, installing Real Goods Solar panels was a no-brainer to the Visalia Church of the Nazarene.
Located in the heart of California’s sun-soaked Central Valley, the church’s motive behind the solar-decision, however, is different depending upon who you ask on the church’s building committee.
“Some committee members were very concerned about minimizing the usage of the resources God has provided us while others were concerned about saving money and the bottom line,” said Wil Hobbs, Visalia Church of the Nazarene Executive Pastor.
With the installation complete, the church is anxiously awaiting the flipping of the proverbial switch when they will begin producing clean energy via Real Goods Solar panels. The first year Hobbs expects to save $7,000. The savings will increase as utility rates inevitably increase. Through the years, industry experts anticipate the church will save about $320,000.
When all is said and done, the bottom line is that the church will have more money in its pocket to expand its areas of outreach in the community.
“What could we do with that savings? We can invest in changing the lives of people for the better,” Hobbs said. “In our eyes, that is an incredible investment. The savings will free up our funds to be used for really great things in the community, like distributing food and helping the 1,300 kids who go through our sports ministry.”
The Visalia Church of the Nazarene isn’t the only religious organization harnessing the sun to further its cause. Houses of worship across the state are utilizing solar panels. Just ask California Interfaith Power and Light (CIPL). CIPL provides resources and information about solar to its membership that includes 560 houses of worship, with that number growing by ten percent each year.
The nonprofit’s mission is to be faithful stewards of God’s Creation by responding to global warming through the promotion of energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy. CIPL helps its members realize energy efficiencies by linking them with information about things like conservation and renewable energy. They even help members conduct energy audits to help them better understand energy consumption, with an ultimate goal of reducing those numbers.
“Solar is becoming a major focal point for our membership,” said Greg Bedard, Program Director at CIPL. “We field questions about this clean energy source all the time.”
Bedard said the reasoning behind its members’ desires to go green vary as well. “We hear all sorts of motives and a lot of different reasons behind houses of worships’ decision to go solar. Some are very committed to lessening their environmental impact. Others are after the savings. Many are a happy blend between the two,” he said.
CIPL member and Real Goods Solar customer Church of Our Savior in Mill Valley, California, went solar to carry out its mission to take care of creation.
“Taking care of the planet is very important to our church. We want to have as small a carbon footprint as possible and be as sustainable as possible,” said Michael Mooney, who oversees facilities at Church of Our Savior. “Of course, it’s a sound financial investment as well. Like most nonprofits, our budget is tight. Using free energy from the sun saves us money we can use for outreach.”
Tom Cotter, Central Valley Sales Manager at Real Goods Solar and co-founder of Green Fresno, knows the importance of creation care very well. In fact, it’s what drives him. Once a pastor at a church in Clovis, California, he takes his job as a solar industry expert very seriously.
“I definitely understand what churches are up against and what is at the heart of their work,” Cotter said. “I am blessed to have the opportunity to help churches and their congregants up and down the Valley learn that their desire to go solar is so attainable.”
Cotter has seen caring for creation start at church, and then migrate to the home and office. That is particularly true at Visalia Church of the Nazarene. Real Goods Solar recently installed solar panels on Executive Pastor Wil Hobbs’ house as well.
“Whether you’re a beach lover or a mountain lover, people experience the divine in nature. We have a great responsibility to be stewards of the environment that God gave us and that’s why I like solar. Of course, my electric bill at home was 90 cents in January and February. That’s hard to beat,” Hobbs said.
ABOUT REAL GOODS SOLAR
Real Goods Solar is a leading solar energy integrator, having installed more than 12,000 electric systems for both residential and commercial properties. Real Goods Solar offers turnkey solar energy solutions, and has 34 years of experience in solar energy, beginning with its sale of the first solar photovoltaic panels in the United States in 1978. With offices nationwide, Real Goods Solar is one of the largest residential solar installers in the Central Valley and the United States. For more information, visit RealGoodsSolar.com.