Thinking globally while acting locally, Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Arlington, Virginia is going solar, with what is now the largest solar array at a place of worship in Arlington County. The church contracted with Ipsun Solar, a local solar electric systems installer, to complete the project, 319 panels in size, for a total of over 95 kilowatts of solar capacity. It features a blue cross-shaped design on the main solar array.
Luc Dewulf, an active parishioner and the church’s spokesperson for the solar project, says, “We wanted to try to get as much energy as we can from a renewable source.” The initiative was prompted partly by Pope Francis’ encyclical on the climate and environmental crisis Laudato Si as well as by a recent report from the U.N. stating that the world’s economies must dramatically accelerate their pollution cuts in order to meet 2015 Paris Accord targets.
Solar will supply about 48% of the power for the church’s buildings collectively. In its first year alone it will reduce carbon emissions by an amount equal to preventing nearly half a rail car of coal from being burned. Thanks to innovative funding methods, the project exhibits immediate positive cash flow and will contribute to a sound operating budget for the church for decades to come.
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