Diocese of San Diego will equip all its churches with solar panels

By Chris Tumilty
Posted Apr 22, 2020

[Diocese of San Diego] The Episcopal Diocese of San Diego and its partners, the Episcopal Church Building Fund and Fellowship Energy Finance, are excited to announce the first diocese-wide program to equip all its churches with solar panels.

With 13 churches currently enrolled in the program, Bishop Susan Brown Snook is excited about bringing the diocese and its churches into the green movement. “I am so glad for our diocese to use the abundant resource we are blessed with here in Southern California and Arizona – sunlight – to meet our needs for energy,” said Brown Snook.

“Helping our Earth remain sustainable is our way of caring for God’s creation and conserving resources for future generations. We are blessed to have this technology available to us, and I look forward to our diocese and congregations entering into this initiative,” said Brown Snook.

Fellowship Energy Finance, a lead partner in the endeavor, is focused on providing churches with the financing options for solar-powered energy solutions. It is providing zero-down financing so that churches can start saving on their energy costs.

“Bringing solar panels to our churches serves a dual purpose: reducing utility costs to the congregations and being good stewards of God’s creation,” said the Rev. Kirby Smith, chief financial officer of the diocese. “We are all called to be responsible for maintaining our environment so it may be a healthy and safe place for those who come after us. We are temporary custodians of all that God has provided. Money that congregations spend on electricity can’t be spent on mission and ministry. In light of that, it is incumbent for congregations to seek ways of using power more efficiently,” said Smith.

The Episcopal Church Building Fund, a partner in the solar program, is helping churches thrive through the investigation of strategic, resourceful and creative uses of church buildings. ECBF loans are available to Episcopal congregations for building and renovation projects for churches, schools, rectories and expansions of ministry projects.

The steps associated with participating in the initiative – going solar – are low-contact activities. Local church solar teams can meet virtually. Even when church campuses are closed due to COVID-19, this program can still move forward.