Virginia Faith Communities in Action
VAIPL is featuring solar faith communities and congregations across the Commonwealth all summer long. While we lift up and celebrate faith communities that have already gone solar, we hope you and your community will be inspired and informed by their journeys!
If you’d like your faith community or congregation to be featured this summer, please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to highlight your community.
Westminster Presbyterian Church
Westminster Presbyterian Church is a Christian faith community serving the University of Virginia and the greater Charlottesville and Albemarle areas. Stewardship of Creation is a core value of the Westminster community. One of the many ways Westminster has taken steps to honor their commitment to Creation is by integrating renewable energy on their campus, including a 57-panel solar array on the roof of one of their buildings.
April 22, 2018 marked the first anniversary of Westminster’s solar array. The solar panels produced 9.84 MWh (megawatt-hours) of electricity in this past year—close to the average overall consumption of an American home. At the same time, the Westminster campus’s overall energy consumption dropped from 187 MWh to 175 MWh, which means that over 5% of its total energy comes from the solar array! In addition, the congregation was able to sell $677 worth of excess electricity back to utilities within this first year, offsetting an additional 5% of their annual electricity expense.
Slate roofing on most of Westminster’s buildings prevents the congregation from being able to implement more rooftop solar, but that has not stopped the church community’s green team from exploring more renewable energy sources. For example, the church has outsourced its utility bill to Arcadia Energy, who matches their electric usage with investment in wind energy credits. In this way, the church community also actively supports the growth of renewable energy in hopes of one day getting to 100% renewable!