Fort Wayne churches choosing solar power

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – An Indiana organization has helped 29 churches across the state get solar panels on their buildings. Three of those churches are in Fort Wayne.

Thirty solar panels on top of the roof of Plymouth Congregational Church of Fort Wayne United Church of Christ heat, cool-off and light the Downtown church.

“It pays to invest in the sun,” Senior Minister John P. Gardner said.

Gardner started talking to the group Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light about two years ago. The group helps congregations become more energy-efficient. Last fall, the solar panels went up at Plymouth Congregational.

“We identify as an earth-wise congregation which means we’re really trying to be good stewards of creation,” Gardner said.

“With the religious teachings [some congregations] think that they’re here to help care for the earth, care for creation,” HIPL Member Ray Wilson said. “They’re seeing this as a way they can do that”

Wilson said the solar panels also help churches’ bottom lines.

“The sun hits the panel and it generates electricity which comes into your house or your church, and therefore you’re using that electricity when you run your air conditioner or use your lights instead of buying it from the power company,” Wilson explained.

Wilson also travels to churches across the state to let parishioners know how they can use solar energy in their own homes.

“We’re helping them save energy in their buildings but also with their congregants, and we’re also to some extent trying to shape legislation so it’s favorable for those things to happen,” Wilson said.

Beacon Heights will hold a solar panel dedication Sunday at 11 a.m.

For more information on solar energy click here and for information on HIPL click here.

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