Charlottesville church moves to renewable energy

The outside of St. Mark Lutheran Church and some of its new solar panels.
The outside of St. Mark Lutheran Church and some of its new solar panels.(wvir)
Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 12:54 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - St. Mark Lutheran Church just switched their primary power supply to renewable energy. This is now the largest non-profit owned solar system in Charlottesville and among the largest in the state.

“The significant aspect of this system is the fact that it will save the church money so that they will be able to use those resources in the future for good, for more, as well as a healthy environment,” Richard Chrisler with SunDay Solar said.

SunDay Solar is the installer of this project and they say this is the first church they have helped get a little greener. St. Mark Lutheran reached out to them. They realized together this would be a great investment, given the high electric bills in Virginia.

“This is generating a significant amount of power, every day,” Chrisler said. “Over the aggregated will be 80% of what is used here.”

The church not only worked with SunDay Solar to make this possible, but also the City, LEAP, and the University of Virginia Community Credit Union.

“Community literally is our middle name, and we take that very seriously,” Ethan Dunstan with the University of Virginia Community Credit Union said. “It’s great to be a part of projects, great to be able to deploy capital in an ecofriendly way. Solar is just, it’s a win-win for everybody.”

Members of the church say their main goal is reducing their carbon footprint and now encourage others to do so as well.

“Our location here, at the corner of a bit rather busy intersection, is also a very effective way to demonstrate to the community that commitment,” President of the Mission Council St. Mark Lutheran Church Alice McKenna said.

The total cost was around $140,000 but everyone says the time and money are worth it.

“Personally, I am proud, honored and humbled,” McKenna said. “I encourage anybody else who is thinking of doing this, it’s super easy to get.”

Everyone involved in the project says the installation was an easy process and they hope it inspires others to become more eco-friendly too.

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