The sun of love

Solar array lights charitable projects

Implementing a solar project is one way that Glencairn Church, Kitchener, Ont., seeks to live out Jesus’ command to love your neighbour. June 8, 2014, Glencairn officially launched a 10kW array of solar panels with a crowd of congregation members and dignitaries. Councillor Paul Singh brought greetings from the City of Kitchener.

A small group within the congregation spearheaded the solar initiative, motivated by the belief that caring for God’s creation shows thankfulness and respect to God, and helps people in poverty around the world who are often most affected by climate change.

A Solar City Initiative grant helps offset the $44,000 capital costs of installation. Glencairn received the last of five $10,000 grants to faith communities. (Solar City is a joint project of Community Renewable Energy Waterloo (CREW), Mennonite Central Committee Ontario and Greening Sacred Spaces Waterloo Region with funding support from the City of Kitchener’s Local Environmental Action Fund.)

The panels on the church roof are expected to generate 10,000 kilowatt hours of power per year, fed back into the Ontario power system grid through participation in Ontario’s MicroFit program. Under a 20-year MicroFIT contract, the solar energy generated will be remunerated at a rate of $0.396/kWh. Glencairn’s solar array is expected to pay for itself within 7 to 10 years.

Funds generated for the remaining years of the contract will go back into the church’s charitable work, like the flagship Bridges ministry that distributes clothing and food to new immigrants and people living in poverty. Some 110 families from 81 countries, speaking 63 different languages, come each Saturday.

—Sandra Reimer is a member of Glencairn Church, Kitchener, Ont.

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