Will Solar Panel Legislation Hurt Indiana Churches?

Solar energy legislation might not seem like a big deal for faith communities, but for parishes such as Cumberland First Baptist Church and Englewood Christian Church, solar panel legislation will determine the success of they're existing creation care campaigns.

Over the past few years, solar energy has become a positive force for climate action in American congregations. Steeples across the US are being lined with solar panels, on average supplementing 20% of energy consumption, enabling parishes to divest from fossil fuels. Indiana alone has 11 parishes equipped with solar panels, empowering churches to address social issues more directly.

Unfortunately, the great solar initiative is under attack and requires further attention from faith leaders. In Indiana, a church that produces too much solar energy is able to sell their electricity reserve to the utility companies, providing a parish with some much needed extra money.

Recent legislation, proposed by utility funded representatives, threaten the solar efforts of churches across the state, with legislation that will reduce the payout to churches (and small businesses) whom sell their electricity to utility companies.

We need faith leaders (with or without solar panels) to stand up and voice their opinion on the matter. Start by writing your representative and more importantly, vote accordingly.

Why You Need to Pay Attention to Solar Energy Legislation

By Tim Evans for IndyStar

The 36 solar panels point south from their perch on the roof of Cumberland First Baptist Church. At first blush, they seem like an unlikely nod to one of the most basic Christian tenets.

"There is a holy mandate to care for the earth, which God created and called good," The Rev. Thomas Wyatt Watkins tells me, quoting from the Old Testament creation story.

As the pastor showed me the 9-kilowatt, photovoltaic array installed in October, Watkins said the church's plunge into the world of alternative energy is tied to a faith concept called "Creation Care," which focuses on being good stewards of all God's gifts.

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