Church becomes 1st in southern Illinois with solar panels

CARBONDALE, IL – A church in southern Illinois is leading the way in renewable energy and reducing its carbon footprint by installing solar panels on its building.

The newly installed panels at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Carbondale will run everything from the lights to the electronic organ. It’s the first church in southern Illinois to have a solar energy system installed.

“We look forward to seeing it being finished in the next day or two, and helping us save not just money, but save the environment as much as we can,” said church member Dale Ritzel.

Members say the church is centered on being a progressive community focused on leading by example.

“As a church, we need to be setting the example for what our members do, as well as other people in the community that are interested in saving some trees,” said Dale.

Straight Up Solar is installing the 24 solar panels.

“They are going to get 40 years worth of energy for about 15 months of bills. It’s not hard to say no one can compete with that, but that’s the reality of solar now,” said Solar Project Developer Brent Ritzel.

The panels will continue to save the church money even at night.

“The more we generate that we don’t use, it will go back in the grid as credit. When we need it, for example, at night, it will come back to us, and we don’t pay for it,” said Dale.

 Since 2006, Straight Up Solar has installed more than 1,000 residential and commercial-scale solar projects in Illinois and Missouri.

Because the church does not use its building every day of the week, its normal electricity bill is about $1,000 a year.  The total electric savings for 25 years of production is estimated at $38,463.

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