The eco-friendly project that provides solar power to Catholic institutions - at no cost

Photo by Andreas Gücklhorn on Unsplash

In 2017, the Catholic Climate Covenant launched Catholic Energies, a program that helps Catholic organizations to become more environmentally friendly by providing them low-cost sources of alternative energy.

Recently, Catholic Energies partnered with IGS Solar and the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington to build a large solar energy system in Washington, D.C. According to a press release, the new project “will host the 2-megawatt system comprising more than 5,000 panels” to give Catholic Charities “more than 2.7 million kilowatt-hours per year, nearly 100% of the current power requirements for CCADW’s real estate portfolio across the city.” Additionally, the project will “offset nearly 3,400 tons of CO2 emissions per year.”

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“We went from a fairly small-scale roof-based system to a larger, ground-based system that provides a much bigger benefit to Catholic Charities,” said Dan Misleh, the executive director of the Catholic Climate Covenant. “It essentially takes away the cost of electricity for all Catholic Charities buildings. It lowers their rate to about two cents per kilowatt-hour, from about 11 cents per kilowatt-hour. Those savings then can go into the core mission of Catholic Charities: to shelter the homeless, to feed the hungry [and] to provide other services for the Archdiocese of Washington.”

“We’re concerned both about God’s gift of creation but also certainly about the people who inhabit the planet, including future generations.”

The Catholic Climate Covenant began in 2006 to raise awareness in Catholic communities about the importance of applying Catholic teaching on the environment to practical needs. “The mission of the Catholic Climate Covenant is to help Catholics understand and act on the issue of climate change,” said Mr. Misleh. “We’re concerned both about God’s gift of creation but also certainly about the people who inhabit the planet, including future generations.”

According to Mr. Misleh, Catholic Energies was being developed around the same time as the publication of Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change, “Laudato Si’.” The encyclical, Mr. Misleh said, “really gave the project wings” by illustrating the importance of protecting the environment to Catholics.

Catholic Energies offers no-cost counseling to parishes, schools, hospitals and other Catholic organizations. “[We] demonstrate to them how they can save money and reduce their carbon emissions through smart solar energy projects,” he said.

He described how much “time and money” it takes for a group to become more energy efficient and how that additional expense often makes the effort not worth the hassle. “What Catholic Energies does is come in and say, ‘Look, we can take care of all of these steps and provide for you,’” he explained.

The Catholic Climate Covenant is also planning to expand Catholic Energies. It is reaching out to communities in Illinois and Iowa and is already launching multiple projects in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia.

“We’re able to reach out to any place in the U.S. that wants to be more energy efficient,” Mr Misleh said.

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Michael Garland
3 weeks 3 days ago

This is both an interesting article and a praiseworthy action. The activity would, in my mind, be even more praiseworthy if it were more catholic (lower case "c" intentional). The climate problem is not sectarian. Work to improve the situation should be non-sectarian, as well. Even with a small local effort like what CCADW is engaged in, a strong message of solidarity with all those at risk, the whole human species, would be given by not limiting potential recipients to Catholic institutions.
Michael Garland, Portland, Oregon

Alan Johnstone
3 weeks 3 days ago

Young readers particularly, please watch this Youtube video and discover for yourselves that there are other people with a lot of experience and information who agree with me that this is a very bad idea.
Solar panels are not without severe long term damage to the earth environment and are not to be recommended.
Besides, they are a solution to a non-problem.
https://youtu.be/N-yALPEpV4w

Panic about our planet rapidly overheating just because we use coal and oil is unfounded and is just as wrong as previous panics such as those below, which all had the CONSENSUS claimed for global warming.

Y2K catastrophe - dud
ozone hole panic - dud
superior alien life on Mars who built the canals - dud
Club of Rome population bomb - dud
rapidly approaching ice age - dud

Stanley Kopacz
3 weeks 2 days ago

Two hundred years of physics and planetary climate science says you are wrong and the warnings are correct. Over a dozen US scientific societies accept human induced global warming as threat. CO2 is a greenhouse gas. It plays an important role in regulating earth's surface temperature. Always has. Too little and you get ice ball earth as happened twice in the past. Too much and you get catastrophic temperature rise as in the Permian Extinction. Read the science. Not the nonsense. I don't like what the science says either. But we have to man up, roll up our sleeves and address the problem.

J Cosgrove
3 weeks 2 days ago

You might like this. What the past thought about the future

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9LG2CJzvro

Oz Jewel
3 weeks 2 days ago

First, a quibble. There was NO climate science as a separate discipline until the last 20 years and I am dubious about the current claimants of such an expertise are genuine anyway.

THE greenhouse substance which is overwhelmingly important is water. 97%
Water as invisible vapour and as clouds of ice particles of different sizes at different strata in the atmosphere.

The almost total source of warmth of planet earth is solar radiation.
The sun warms our planet, we do not - never have, never will.
The variation in the warming is caused by the interplay of the sun, all the planets and the interstellar cosmic radiation.
The details are more and more clear, mapped out with greater precision, understood in finer and finer detail.

Become acquainted with the recently published work (2019) of Valentina Zharkova, if your level of science expertise is up to her level of work.

J Cosgrove
3 weeks 2 days ago

Here is an article from a couple weeks ago about hydrogen as a potential way to store energy.

https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/insights/why-hydrogen-could-improve-value-renewable-energy

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