South Bend churches use solar panels to make an impact on the community


They have different religions but one goal.

Several area churches have been using solar panels to reduce their carbon footprint.

Six churches have been using these panels for about two years.

All six churches were approached by Interfaith Power and Light who offered a grant for churches to add solar panels.

WSBT 22 spoke to a few churches who say they are already seeing the financial impact.

The sun impacts many things.

From helping flowers grow to helping cut electricity cost for Kern Road Mennonite Church in South Bend.

“Right now we are saving close to 30,000 kilowatt hours annual. Our total usage is about 80,000 so it's approaching 40-percent,” said Victor Myers.

In 2015 the church received a $24,000 grant from Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light, an organization that was started by a priest in California.

In six months, the church raised about $48,000 to fund the rest of the solar panel project.

Myers says the solar panels are more than just saving electricity.

“We're trying to preserve something that was given to us and pass it on to our children. That's the faith aspect of it,” said Myers.

Across town, Islamic Society of Michiana have similar beliefs about respecting the environment.

“I think people are taught from childhood to be frugal in the benefits and the blessings that God has given us,” said Jerry Moharijeri.

Moharjeri says it took their church about a year to accept the solar panels.

He says it was because their members didn't know much about it.

But now they're seeing the impact.

“We have reduced our carbon foot print by 61,800 pounds of CO2. That's an equivalent savings of gasoline equal to about 3,180 gallons,” said Moharjeri.

The church has also saved about $5,400 in the last 23 months.

“I think it's important for all of us to save energy. The sun shines every day and never asked us for anything. So free energy is good if you can get it and use it in your own home or churches,” said Moharjeri.

Islamic Society of Michiana say they're using the money they've saved on electricity to help provide meals for their members and community.

Both churches will benefit from the solar panels for the next 25 years.

Something they encourage other churches to look into.

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