Solar power isn’t just for homes and businesses. Churches, mosques, synagogues and other houses of worship can benefit substantially from photovoltaic systems.
Many religious buildings use electricity every day, and the utility bills are paid out of the ministry’s coffers. With a photovoltaic installation, however, churches can create their own energy from the power of the sun, freeing up those funds for more appropriate uses.
With no money down, leasing solar panels may seem like a good option for many religious organizations.
However, many churches have owned their own property for decades (or even longer) and have no plans to move to a different building. So why not choose a permanent installation and allow the congregants to enjoy the benefits of solar energy for years to come?
In addition, leasing brings uncertainty. If the church leaders don’t agree to the terms of a new lease, or are unable to afford to buy the system, the leasing company will typically remove the photovoltaic panels. In that case, the church will still be responsible for any necessary roof repairs — a potentially costly problem.
The upfront cost of installing a photovoltaic system may be daunting for many churches. As nonprofit entities, churches cannot usually benefit from the federal incentives (tax breaks) that make solar power affordable for homeowners and businesses.
Some religious organizations overcome this hurdle by raising money for their solar energy installation projects. Today, with crowdfunding and social media-based fundraising efforts, contributions from the congregation and community can add up quickly, putting photovoltaic investment costs within reach.
Many U.S. churches have discovered another creative method for financing their photovoltaic projects: using members of the congregation as investors.
Parishioners come together to create a special limited liability company (LLC) to fund the photovoltaic system installation. The LLC qualifies for state and federal solar tax credits, which helps to bring down the cost significantly.
The LLC pays for and owns the photovoltaic system, and the church pays the LLC for the solar energy the array generates. In most cases, the LLC charges a flat rate for the electricity, allowing the investors to break even in the long run. You can read many success stories from around the country online, where congregations have used this method to install solar panels on their church.
Are you considering solar energy for your ministry? An experienced photovoltaic contractor can help you understand your purchase options and work with you to design an affordable and cost-effective system.
Intermountain Wind & Solar offers complimentary consultations to houses of worship throughout Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Colorado and Wyoming. To explore the possibility of solar power for your church, synagogue or mosque, contact us today.
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