Shepherdstown Presbyterian Leading the Way for Solar Energy


SHEPHERDSTOWN, W Va. - Members of Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church celebrated a project three years in the making Tuesday morning.

"This project is good for the environment, it's good for the church's financial planning, it's good for our community," said Than Hitt, Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church member.

A project that helped their church became solar powered and the first church in the Eastern Panhandle using solar energy.

"Churches and other non-profits in West Virginia really can't benefit from some of the federal incentive programs for solar that are out there. So we needed to think creatively about how to finance this program in a way that overcame those prior obstacles," said Hitt.

Church members created a community crowd funding process to raise money for the project. They said by placing water heater remote controls in nearly 100 businesses and homes across Shepherdstown, those remotes produced electricity savings. Those savings were then donated to the church into the Shepherdstown Solar Fund, LLC to pay off the loan for this project. Church members said the solar panels cost $55,000 but with the crowd funding support, the church only paid $1 for the entire solar panel project. 

"All the people contributing to the project aren’t paying anything either. So the church pays one dollar, the individual families don't pay anything and they're able to reduce their pollution through their water tanks," said Dan Conant, Solar Holler.

Church members said this is the largest community supported project in the state. They also said this process created a road map for other non-profits to do the same.

"It just shows how the Shepherdstown community has come together and the Shepherdstown Presbyterian church has come together to support this project," said Hitt.

The solar panels were installed by Mountainview Solar and it will power 40% of the church's energy that will cut their expenses and provide clean energy for years to come.

"It really is a legacy gift. The panels that were put on the roof will make energy for decades, and so it's exciting to be apart of something that has that will produce energy long beyond the time that we're here," said Colin Williams, Mountainview Solar.

Leaving a brighter future for generations to come.

Since the installation of their solar panels, church members hope to see more churches and non-profits transition to solar power in the future.

For more information about how Shepherdstown Presbyterian funded this project, head to Solar Holler's website here.

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