Updated 1 month ago

What are the benefits of solar power for churches?

What are the benefits of solar power for churches?

Find out what solar panels cost in your area

Churches and other places of worship are designed to accommodate a large number of individuals. But big indoor spaces mean high power requirements for lighting, heating, and cooling — and high power bills.

In today’s age of decreased giving, religious institutions are seeking to reduce their operating expenses without cutting services to their congregation and community.

Unfortunately for churches (synagogues, mosques, and temples, too), saving money on electricity can be tough. And the larger the building, the harder it is to cut back on electricity costs.

Turning off the lights and unplugging equipment between services can help, but only to an extent.

The good news is that the large size of church buildings and other houses of worship actually presents a shining opportunity: lots of space for solar panels!

Wondering if installing a solar energy system is the right choice for your church and congregation?

Let’s explore the various ways in which a solar project benefits non-profit organizations in the long term. 

Infographic about the benefits of solar-powered churches

Data credit: Interfaith Power and Light

Solar arrays help you save money on your utility costs

The leading reason to install solar panels on church buildings is to save money on utility bills. But how does this work?

When your building is connected to the power grid managed by the electric company, it receives a steady supply of power. That supply is monitored by the electric company and you get charged for each kilowatt-hour you use.

By installing church solar panels, your building will generate its own electricity. Instead of receiving power from the grid, you'll get it from the sun. You will also be able to store the power for later use.

Each kilowatt-hour the panels produce is yours and if the setup produces enough energy to power everything in the church each day, you won't have to pay the electric company at all.

If it's not enough, you'll only pay for the power you draw from the electric company. This saves you money on utility costs month after month.

Setting environmental stewardship examples

Everyone, from members of the community to those in your congregation, looks up to you for guidance and follows in your footsteps.

When your church installs a solar power system, it can set the precedent for huge social change and clean energy into motion. You'll inspire members of your congregation to go green as well as encourage other businesses and organizations to switch to renewable energy sources.

Here are a few examples of environmental stewardship:

Temple Beth demonstrates the benefits of being one of the largest solar installations on a US house of worship. The 210 kW solar panel system produces around 237,479 kWh energy per year and is responsible for 70% of the synagogue’s yearly electricity needs.

Large-scale solar project on the roof of a church

Image source: Cool Congregations

Federated Community Church in AZ has cut down its electricity bill by 96% with photovoltaic solar panel installations on their historic building. The monthly power bills of the church have decreased to $45.

Close-up shot of a solar panel on top of a church in New Jersey

Image credit: Interfaith Power and Light

Jackson UMC in Jackson Township, NJ has gone solar in order to fulfill their commitment to becoming good stewards of the earth and pitting themselves as environmental models for others in society.

"Our solar energy was installed within the first two weeks of 2017. The savings on our electric bill will be redirected into funding our vision and programs. Over the course of the next 15 years, we estimate over $50,000 being poured into ministry and mission." — Jackson UMC Pastor Joe Tiedemann

Overhead shot of a solar panel system on a church

Image credit: United Methodists of Greater New Jersey

Sets you apart from other organizations in the community

Many people actively seek out eco-friendly businesses and non-profit organizations. Installing solar panels on the church could help improve your reputation in the community and increase community participation and member growth.

When people feel that your congregation cares about reducing the carbon footprint, they're more likely to support your outreach events, make donations, and partner with your church in charity events.

Frees up money for other community welfare projects

Utility bills take a huge chunk of your operating budget. And with increasing electricity costs, your energy cost also grows.

Installing solar panels will save you money on utilities, freeing up your operating budget for other essential community welfare projects.

If you are worried about the upfront costs, you may want to check out the best solar financing options for your church. You can also take advantage of generous government programs that make solar electricity systems much more affordable.

Use the money you save for community outreach programs. Host a soup kitchen three times a year instead of twice a year. Help pay for trips for your youth group.

Even small contributions can make a huge difference on the impact your other projects have on the community. The more money you can free up from the operating budget, the more you can invest in making your community and surroundings better.

Redirects your savings to better causes and missions

The amount of power your church solar panels produce will vary from day to day. However, it's unlikely that you'll use all the energy you produce, especially if you cover the roof in panels.

So what can you do with all that excess energy?

You can store it for later use if needed. Or you can use net metering to make more money for the church.

Utility companies often allow buildings with solar panels to sell the extra energy generated to the company itself. Instead of paying the electric company for power, they'll pay you!

Supports local businesses and economy

Installing solar panels is a difficult task. And it's not one your maintenance team should handle on its own.

Instead, you'll want to hire a local installation pro to handle the installation process.

When you hire any local contractor, you're supporting local businesses and helping the local economy to grow.

Also, many contractors use previous installations as examples of their work and allow past clients to provide recommendations to prospective customers.

If another local business contacts you to discuss the installation, you'll be able to help the contractor by sharing your experience. This can help a small business grow over time.

Let’s get started!

Interested in making a simple yet significant impact on your congregation and your budget? Install solar panels on your church and experience the many solar power benefits.

Check out our reviews page to find the best solar companies near you. They'll be able to find the right solar setup for your church to keep you powered up all year round.

Interested in solar for your home? Check how much solar panels cost and how much they can save you
Written by Jagpreet Sandhu Content Specialist

Jagpreet is a specialist in digital communication and creative writing. During her career, she has produced a wide range of content including blogs, articles, case studies, brochures, user manuals, and other creative assets. She has a keen interest in solar and envisions a bright future where all our energy comes from renewable resources. Jag has been an enthusiastic writer for more than seven years and is skilled in digital communication and cr...

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