In Georgia, Athens’ St. Gregory Episcopal is first local church to install solar panels

Posted by Kendall Harmon

St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church now has the ability to harness the sun.

In recent days, the church, located in Southeastern Athens-Clarke County, installed a 7.5-kilowatt solar array that will be used to generate energy that will help to significantly lower the church’s energy costs.

A main purpose of the solar array, though, is to make the church a better steward of the environment. And it also will allow more of the church’s resources to go toward helping those in need instead of toward power bills, said Andrew Lane — also known as “Captain Planet” — chairman of the Green Guild/Creation Keepers at St. Gregory the Great.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Economics, PoliticsEconomyEnergy, Natural Resources* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

25 Comments
Posted June 14, 2012 at 6:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Capt. Father Warren wrote:

Oh, it must feel sooooooo gooooood to be so cluelessssssssss.

Of course two years down the road, no one will go back and audit the $20k or more that they poured into that system.  Will it actually put out 7.5Kwh per day [hate to tell them, the sun does shine everyday, but pesky clouds will not let it shine on their panels every day].

Love the other stat: the other church’s panels can power 518 homes for one day….....great, there are 364 days left to use fossil and nuke generated electricity [which is cheaper per kwh].

The Dio of GA will promote anything except the real gospel.

June 14, 8:36 am | [comment link]
2. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

Why not install a heat exchanger above the pulpit?

June 14, 9:01 am | [comment link]
3. David Keller wrote:

Gee I learned something.  I never knew fracking causes earthquakes.  I probabaly didn’t know that because it isn’t ture; but then, for TEC, truth is never a necessity. The story did remind me of one of the original bunny huggers on our vestry in the 1980’s. She missed a vestry meeting so we “passed” a fake resloution to the Dicoese that we be required to use styrofoam cups and plates at all diocesan functions. When she got her minutes, she almost had a heart attack.

June 14, 9:04 am | [comment link]
4. Capt. Father Warren wrote:

Why not install a heat exchanger above the pulpit?

And add a CO2 recovery unit to save us from climate change…....that could qualify a church as “missional”

June 14, 9:25 am | [comment link]
5. brian_in_brooklyn wrote:

Actually, the wastewater from fracking has been tied to increased seismic activity.

The economics may not justify the solar panels, which could make them a poor choice. Not having been privy to the decision to install the panels, I don’t know.  Still, I cannot understand the hostility and derision heaped upon any attempt to lessen our impact on the natural environment.

Why do you assume that someone can’t preach the Gospel and prefer solar energy over fossil fuels?

June 14, 10:20 am | [comment link]
6. David Keller wrote:

#5—ALL of the “science” related to fracking is political. There has never been any study that correlates fracking to earthquakes (the specific word used in the story)  “Increased seismic actitivity” can mean anything.  If you measure the ground when I drive my SUV out of the parking lot I am creating “increased seismic activity”.  As to your question, the problem is the history of TEC. There are never any national stories about TEC preaching the gospel.  They are always political agenda stories. And my personal experience with the bunny huggers in TEC is they will tell you, you aren’t welcome if you don’t agree with them on whatever the political agenda item “de jour” might be. Today it is solar panels, tomorrow it will be something else; while the Gospel does not change from season to season.

June 14, 10:38 am | [comment link]
7. brian_in_brooklyn wrote:

#6—The Bloomberg article I linked to uses the word earthquake—I was thy one who used increased seismic activity.

“ALL of the “science” related to fracking is political.” That is an absurd statement. Where is your proof?

And the phrase is du jour, not “de jour.”

June 14, 11:49 am | [comment link]
8. lostdesert wrote:

David Keller - you are oh so right. 
‘You aren’t welcome if you don’t agree with them on whatever the political agenda itme [sic] ‘de jour’ might be. 
In 50 years at TEC I learned no gospel, no old testament, no Bible history, no Bible, no Bible, no Bible.  Goodbye TEC.

June 14, 12:16 pm | [comment link]
9. Sarah wrote:

RE: ““ALL of the “science” related to fracking is political.” That is an absurd statement. Where is your proof?”

Why would he want to offer “proof” when he’s not trying to *prove* anything to you, but merely assert his belief, just as you asserted yours in “that is an absurd statement.”

Besides, it’s not as if he needs to attempt to convince you.

I’m with David—the entire environmental movement has been horribly tainted by bogus/fad “science” [sic] and we no longer trust it. That’s fine that *you* trust it—that fits with your worldview anyway. But I do not.

Moving on . . . it’s not at all surprising that an Episcopal Church is in the news for its solar panels, since most of our churches aren’t in the news for things like the Gospel, conversion, sin, repentance, Jesus Christ, etc.

June 14, 12:34 pm | [comment link]
10. David Keller wrote:

#7—Thanks for the spelling correction. I’m sure you feel much better now. BTW,  I stand by what I said.

June 14, 1:10 pm | [comment link]
11. QohelethDC wrote:

In 50 years at TEC I learned no gospel, no old testament, no Bible history, no Bible, no Bible, no Bible.

That surprises me. My parish is pretty liberal, and every service includes readings from both the OT and NT. Then there are a Bible study group, adult forums, retreats, and EFM, all of which include looking at Scripture.

Goodbye TEC

Fare thee well. Blessings on your spiritual journey!

June 14, 1:47 pm | [comment link]
12. lostdesert wrote:

#11 Scripture was only read during service, no context, no discussion, no history no concordance.  There was no adult Bible study except during Lent and then we read isolated passages, broke up into groups and discussed ‘what it all meant’ to us.  What is important about what it means to me?  I need teaching and facts, my feelings are completely irrelevant when I am trying to be obedient to God’s will.  Have not attended a retreat but feared it would be more of the same - a review of my feelings, us looking at each other as if we had the answers when the answers are all in that book.  My mom graduated from EFM, then about 10 yrs later left the church, still not clear why.  I guess a few Bible passages read in church was just not enough.  I am sure a good deal of this shortcoming is my own fault, but the fact that the Christian Reformed Church has provided a very Biblical way of living and learning has changed everything.  I will forever be grateful for the path given to me and my family.

June 14, 3:59 pm | [comment link]
13. episcoanglican wrote:

Assumptions:
4.99 avg solar hours per day in Griffin Ga (only 4.75 in Atlanta Ga)
7.5 kW solar array (probably 10 panels at 750 watts per panel)
20% inverter, fixed array, grid, etc. losses
Total Annual Production:
5 avg solar hours/day x 365 days/yr x 7.5kW x 80% efficiency = 10,950 kWh generated/year
Capital Cost - $15K.

12,000 kWh per household/year - average power usage in US—– a typical small episcopal church would use maybe twice that, 24,000 kWh/year.
St. Gregory’s, if they are a small church, can roughly cut their annual electricity bill in half for $15K. Now that is something to put in the papers. What Good News!

Other comparisons:
55 kWh/year = power usage of an efficient laptop that goes into sleep mode right away.
1752 kWh/year = power usage of a greedy desktop computer left on.
So the 10 panel array can power a whole lot of laptops or 6.25 power hungry desktop computers for the year.

Assuming no maintenance costs and a 15 year life for the array, inverters, etc…. That’s $1000 per year to power several desktop computers (or equivalent), a network, a handful of laptops and a bunch of lights (but not the fridge and freezer and certainly not the AC which in most places you could, in theory, do without if you *really* wanted to save greenhouse gasses and not contribute so much to the 21st century scourge of global warming.)

And doesn’t everyone feel so much better about themselves? 

In the meantime over those 15 years hundreds or possibly thousands of lives within reach of St. Gregory’s doorstep will die each year to spend an eternity in hell because no one in the church told them the really Good News about Jesus. But they have all heard the good news that St. Gregory’s can power 6 computers and a few other things for $15K for the next 15 years, which is nice. Just warms the heart.

To be fair, if St. Gregory is proclaiming the gospel AND they are putting solar panels on their roof, well, then my rant is very judgmental and horribly misplaced. I hereby issue a provisional apology. It’s just that I’ve been trained to expect that whatever the gospel they are proclaiming, Jesus’ gift of salvation is no where to be heard. Admittedly they have done a good job advertising their good works for the environment, such as they are.

June 14, 5:01 pm | [comment link]
14. aldenjr wrote:

I will simply point out that the seas are still rising as a result of the melting ice caps and this is due, in large part, to rising concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere brought about by the continued combustion of fossil fuels.  Lives will increasingly be lost to storms along the coasts of low lying lands as higher and higher seas invade.  These people may also never get the chance to hear about Jesus love and redemption for them because of their untimely death. 

There is a reason that the Lord commands us to be good stewards for the environment - so that we can, by our actions, set a witness for how we should live, to slow down the trends that put more in danger, that more may live and come to know Jesus.  I congratulate St. Gregory for their courageous action to lessen our impact on this fragile planet.

June 14, 6:14 pm | [comment link]
15. wportbello wrote:

Z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z
Change is eternal…..
Hello!!!!

June 15, 12:07 am | [comment link]
16. Tomb01 wrote:

14 aldenjr, you may want to actually research the ‘sea level rise’ thing.  Pretty much all the actual measurements (not the computer models, the actual DATA) show a fairly constant small increase in sea level rise throughout the record of data we have available.  And if you actually look at the ‘ice cap’ totals, it is also relatively unchanged, as the Antarctic is growing while the Arctic decline seems to have stopped.  And there is NO data that shows CO2 causing the warming that started in the 1800’s to today.  The ONLY thing that shows catastrophic warming are the many computer models.  As a computer professional, with some small knowledge of statistics and using computers to evaluate trends, I know that modeling an incompletely understood environment with computers is really pointless.  As you add high uncertainty variables your results get more and more wildly unreliable, and there are a HUGE number of poorly understood variables in the climate models.  Take clouds for instance.  There are some people that believe clouds have a huge impact, and others that think they are minimal.  The models in general don’t really know (no one does) so they ‘SWAG’ (that would be Scientific Wild Ass GUESS) their estimate of cloud impact.  We don’t really know.  So any model that includes significant numbers of ‘we don’t really know’ variables is really junk, but you can make a model show anything you want it to by manipulating the algorithms. 

Sorry, there is no real evidence of CO2 causing warming, we just don’t really know why.  Tell you what, do some research and tell us why it stopped cooling in the 1800’s and started warming, and why that warming stopped and CO2 took over and I’ll be happy to change my view.

June 15, 2:12 am | [comment link]
17. QohelethDC wrote:

The National Geographic Society, which strives mightily to be nonpartisan and remain rooted in science, offers a brief overview of What Causes Global Warming? It says, “The gas responsible for the most warming is carbon dioxide, also called CO2. Other contributors include methane released from landfills and agriculture (especially from the digestive systems of grazing animals), nitrous oxide from fertilizers, gases used for refrigeration and industrial processes, and the loss of forests that would otherwise store CO2.”

June 15, 11:59 am | [comment link]
18. rlw6 wrote:

I am sorry but I believe the Sun causes warming or the the lack of it.  The gasses surounding The earth my hinder the warming and hold that warmth.  Now if you have a provable formula that includes all factors, including Volcanic activity and other uncontrolable variables, I will happily follow you to increased world poverty and lower stadards of living.  Untill then I will do my part in conserving were possible but I will leave everyone else to make their own choices.  Free will is not mine alone.

June 15, 12:54 pm | [comment link]
19. Capt. Father Warren wrote:

The National Geographic Society, which strives mightily to be nonpartisan

Now you know that wasn’t going to stand for long, didn’t you?

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2012/01/04/politics-of-national-geographic/

June 15, 1:09 pm | [comment link]
20. Tomb01 wrote:

17 QohelethDC:  I repeat my request.  Explain to us why it stopped cooling and started warming in the 1800’s (before human CO2 could possibly have been a cause) and why that warming cause suddenly ceased and CO2 took over. 

Inquiring minds want to know.

June 15, 2:35 pm | [comment link]
21. QohelethDC wrote:

#19:
The failure to please Commentary may actually suggest that NG’s Mideast coverage succeeded at being balanced (or as close as one can get on that thorny topic). Also, I’m not sure Commentary‘s objections have any bearing on global warming.

June 15, 2:38 pm | [comment link]
22. QohelethDC wrote:

#20. Tomb01:

Interesting question, which I confess I’m not qualified to answer singkehandedly. Came across two resources that might help:

http://www.aip.org/history/climate/timeline.htm

http://www.geo.cornell.edu/eas/energy/the_challenges/global_climate_change.html

June 15, 3:17 pm | [comment link]
23. Tomb01 wrote:

#22:  Yep, both indicate the little ice age stopped in the 1800’s.  Both indicate warming started about then….  Neither explains why the little ice age stopped.  Neither explains why warming started then and mysteriously shifted over to man made CO2 as the agent.  Both struggle with explaining how we are the cause without any actual evidence…  Correlation is NOT causation. 

There was a period in economic study where the stock market tracked closely the length of women’s skirts.  Skirts went up, stocks went up, skirts went down, stocks went down.  But no one seriously suggested skirts were the causative factor for the market changes.  In our era, we are blaming CO2 for something that has been changing for the entire history of the earth.    Sometimes warm, sometimes cold….  Even those articles cannot explain the 30 year period of cooling in the 1940-1970 era, relying again on computer models of a poorly understood system to try to justify their insistence that CO2 MUST be the cause of the warming that followed that cool spell they cannot explain. 

We seem to be in an ‘inter glacial’ period.  My opinion (just mine) is that we should be more worried about falling out of that inter glacial and back into one of the predominant cold cycles.  Cold kills many more people than warm, and a few degrees is likely going to be more beneficial than injurious.  Consider Greenland.  During the medieval warm period, the vikings settled and flourished there, raising cattle and crops, building settlements, only pushed out when the temperatures got to cold to support their agricultural lifestyle.  None of the massive problems that have been predicted due to CO2 occurred then, when it was demonstrably as warm and possibly even warmer than now.  Sadly, much of our current wealth in the West is due to abundant and cheap energy, which this CO2 mania is threatening.

June 15, 3:58 pm | [comment link]
24. Ross wrote:

Here is a list of rebuttals to the most common climate-change challenges.

June 15, 7:05 pm | [comment link]
25. Tomb01 wrote:

24 Ross:  Yeah,  Skeptical Science is one of the CAGW cheerleaders.  Lots of FUD, and some are completely misleading.  Take his number 4 (97% of climate scientists).  If you look into it, it was a tiny subset (79 respondents) of one survey.  So 97% of those 79 said “yes, human activity is affecting the climate”.    Skeptical Science (and most other catastrophic warming sites) spin that up to all climate scientists….  The truth is, the science is generally agreed upon with a couple of exceptions.  The major exception is the feedback aspect, where the catastrophists insist that there is a point where increasing CO2 (remember it is a very small trace gas) will cause logarithmic increases in temperature.  That’s probably the biggest one…  No evidence of it, and only computer models as ‘proof’.

Again, as a computer professional (over 30 years worth), modeling complex things like climate, where many of the variables are poorly understood is NOT something you would bet your business on, much less the economy of the world.  People are freezing to death in the winter in England because of the cost of electricity now, what will happen when it doubles?  (as it will in the NE of the US in the next few years due to the elimination of cheap coal generated electricity)

Sorry, digressed there…  grin

June 16, 2:31 am | [comment link]
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