The City of Ann Arbor is committed to significantly reducing its carbon emissions by encouraging local building owners to use energy wisely and invest in renewable energy.
To meet the city’s goal of generating 2.4 megawatts of solar energy each year — enough to power over 400 houses — the City of Ann Arbor Energy Office has been partnering with Michigan Interfaith Power & Light, seeking houses of worship to join the effort. This initiative, known as the Solar Faithful, aims to promote solar on houses of worship.
Last December, the Solar Faithful team conducted a “Solar Open House” attended by about 40 Ann Arbor area residents and hosted by the Campus Chapel. Pastor Matthew Ackerman and Pastor Rolf Bouma shared their experience of installing solar at the Campus Chapel, a congregation that offsets nearly 100 percent of its energy use from the solar panels on the chapel’s roof.
The Solar Faithful project team’s next event is a “Solar Marketplace” on Sunday, March 11, 2–4 p.m. at Campus Chapel, 1236 Washtenaw Court. This will be an opportunity for interested houses of worship to meet with solar installers and those involved in financing solar projects and ask any questions about a possible solar installation at their house of worship.
House of Worship Solar Marketplace
Sunday, March 11, 2–4 p.m.
Campus Chapel, 1236 Washtenaw Court, Ann Arbor 48104
This event is free and open to all. Please RSVP if you or a representative from your house of worship plans on attending. Contact: Jennifer Young, project manager, Michigan Interfaith Power & Light, firstname.lastname@example.org | 248.463.8811.
Not only long-standing institutions in the community that can financially benefit from long-term investments in energy efficiency and on-site renewable energy generation, houses of worship also serve as beacons in their community. “Attending for how we use energy is an important part of our faith identity,” said Jane Vogel, past board president of Michigan Interfaith Power & Light and current liaison to the Solar Faithful project team.
The Solar Faithful project has been awarded $10,000 in technical assistance from the U.S. Department of Energy to participate in the SunShot Initiative‘s Solar in Your Community Challenge, a nationwide solar contest. The goal of the Solar Faithful partnership is to empower at least three houses of worship with funding strategies so that they can install solar power.
An initial/additional step houses of worship can do is to make their buildings as energy efficient as possible, lowering their energy load, so as to reduce their overall energy generation needs. A program offered by Michigan Saves and DTE Energy with 0 percent financing on energy efficiency measures will also be introduced at the marketplace event.