St. Eugene Catholic Church in North Asheville announced earlier this month that it will install 146 solar panels this year. The 45.99 KW system to be installed on the south and west roofs will cover 22 percent of the church’s electricity needs and be “net metered” so that the church produces more electricity than it can use, the meter runs backwards.
The project is the collaborative effort of Father Pat Cahill, pastor of St. Eugene, the Parish Care of Creation Committee, the Pastoral Council, and the Diocese of Charlotte, all of whom have been involved since last Summer.
“The Church’s teaching on social justice asks us to get involved in issues that affect us all,” Cahill said. “Parishioners are looking for ways to do this. Our project lets us show stewardship and responsibility for our environment along with other Churches and Synagogues who have already installed Solar Panels.”
This renewable energy solution will help to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and coal ash disposal, said Bill Maloney, a facilitator for the project. Installation is expected to start this year when funds are available, he says. MB Haynes Energy Solutions of Asheville will do the installation. With a 25-year warranty, the solar panel system provides a hedge against inflation and higher energy costs.
The cost is $148,600 for 146 panels or about $1,000 per panel. This will be covered by donations from parishioners and non-parishioners. To donate contact the parish office at 828-254-5193. A North Carolina 35% tax credit and a federal charitable tax deduction are available for persons who donate to a nonprofit for renewable energy property in service before January 1, 2016.
“It’s a win-win situation. Everyone benefits,” Maloney added. “We take care of the Earth – and donors get a tax break.”