On Sunday, September 24, People’s United Methodist Church (PUMC) hosted a dedication ceremony to celebrate the completion of its solar array. The solar project is substantial, with an installed capacity of 70.3 kW, poised to offset approximately 64 percent of the church’s power consumption. In addition, a 7.56-kW installation at the church house is expected to generate 10,000 kWh annually, covering 94 percent of its current power usage.
PUMC’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond solar installations. They were named a 2023 Climate Champion by the Dane County Office of Energy and Climate Change for their consistent efforts.
“Climate justice is social justice, and our commitment will do more for people worldwide than almost any other effort we can support at this time,” said representatives from the church. “Together, we are doing a powerful ministry for our world today and for future generations.”
Funding for this solar project was secured from various sources, including a grant from Solar for Good, financial support from Focus on Energy, and a 30% elective pay from the federal government under the Inflation Reduction Act. A vital component of their fundraising efforts was a capital campaign, fortified by a pledge from an internal donor.
Established in 1845, PUMC has been a steadfast presence in their community. PUMC is a Christian community of faith open to all people, focused on issues such as racial inequality, food security, and environmental justice.
PUMC’s journey in environmental stewardship began with small-scale initiatives; however, their ambitions for sustainability expanded in 2019 when they initiated plans for a solar installation. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic introduced logistical challenges and financial uncertainties that momentarily halted progress.
Nevertheless, their objective remained unchanged — commit to environmental stewardship and reduce their carbon footprint. They also sought to enhance community engagement by participating in the Midwest Solar group buy program for Dane County in the spring of 2023 as part of their solar project.
“Midwest Solar Power was happy to work with the Peoples United Methodist Church and Solar For Good to bring solar to the church and parsonage,” said Alarik Roselund, Partner and Co-founder of Midwest Solar Power. Established in 2009, Midwest Solar Power is a Madison-based solar installation company dedicated to providing specialized and high-quality work to its clients.
Other notable works include participating in a Solar group buy, implementing recycling initiatives, hosting an annual Green Fair, and exploring the possibility of adding heat pumps for the church office and preschool.
PUMC’s solar project goes beyond a technological upgrade; it exemplifies its commitment to environmental preservation and carbon footprint reduction. This effort guarantees not only long-term reductions in utility costs but also allocates substantial financial resources that can be redirected toward their other critical social justice initiatives. PUMC’s journey toward environmental stewardship stands as a compelling example for other nonprofit organizations and community groups, showing how sustainable practices can foster positive change.