Prompted by deep concerns about climate change and rising energy costs from O’ahu’s only energy provider, the Lutheran Church of Honolulu successfully switched to on-site solar. Their solar provides all of their energy needs which qualifies them as a Certified Cool Congregation at the 100% level. IPL congratulates the Lutheran Church of Honolulu!
“Our congregation in Hawaii has always been attuned to the ‘Aina’, the land and its life. Native Hawaiians have always held the land as a sacred trust to be preserved and nurtured for future generations. When we were approached by an investor to use our roof for a PV installation and give us a discount on electricity, it was a spiritual and financial win. When offered an early buyout of the system, we eagerly calculated a fair price. We plan to maintain the system indefinitely. Long after the purchase is paid for by paying ourselves back out of electricity savings, we will have free electricity and protect the planet by saving several elephant-weights in carbon each year.
We are happy to share our learnings and aloha with other congregations.”
Steve Miller M.D.
Treasurer, Lutheran church of Honolulu
In 2010, facing the rising cost of energy on O‘ahu by the islandʻs only electric energy provider and deeply concerned about climate change, Lutheran Church of Honolulu decided to meet all their own electricity needs with on-site renewable energy.
The majority of electricity on the island is currently produced from burning petroleum.
Lutheran Church of Honolulu’s building includes a sanctuary, offices, classrooms, nursery, kitchen, and recreation room.
They installed 162 used solar panels and 5 inverters on the church’s roof. The project cost $70,000 and the church is saving about $11,000 to $12,000 in energy costs annually. They have successfully replaced approximately 46,000 kWh per year from the grid, preventing 42.9 tons of carbon dioxide. The church does not use additional gas or propane.
The installation began with a Power Purchase Agreement, with the financial return on investment for the project calculated at 7-9% annually. Another consideration was the opportunity to take advantage of 1:1 credits for solar that was offered by Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO).
The church has since purchased the system.
Now in its 12th year, the project is both a commitment to creation care and to wise financial stewardship. The money that the congregation previously spent on electric bills fully covered the cost of the project and offered a solid return on investment. This project is one part of LCHʻs commitment to creation care. The churchʻs grounds are also planted with native trees and plants and includes two community garden boxes. Many members drive electric or hybrid vehicles. The community also participates in various volunteer clean-up events.
This effort was led by the church’s 2010 Executive Committee, which consisted of President Olivia Castro, Vice-President Bobby Broyles, Secretary Teresa McCreary, Treasurer Steve Miller, and Asst. Treasurer Anna Womack, along with Pastor Jeff Lilley, and Office Administrator Sarah Roseberg, and supported by the church community.
The Lutheran Church of Honolulu hopes to inspire others to action and encourage other congregations in their area to apply to become Certified Cool Congregations.
Church website: http://www.lchwelcome.org