Groundswell hosted its first annual Faith and Fellowship luncheon last month at the lovely Maple Springs Baptist Church. Attended by dozens of faith leaders from our community, our purpose was to share how solar power can equip faith communities for their spiritual mission. As Pastor Dant’e King observed, the first words of creation were “Let there be light,” and we have been equipped from the beginning with all the solar power we need.

Our region enjoys an extraordinary abundance of solar opportunities – from state-based economic incentives called “Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs)” to community-focused programs like the District’s Solar for All Grants. Unless you’re an expert, it can be overwhelming and make the local solar market feel a little bit like the Wild West. That’s why we are so grateful that Trenton Allen, Founder and CEO of Sustainable Capital Advisors, shared a thoughtful orientation to solar economics. The bottom line is that solar makes dollars and cents in our region and there are many ways to use solar to support your mission – so it’s important to be informed about all of the incentives in your area (which can vary by city and county) to make a right decision.

The District of Columbia, for example, is a national leader. Not only has the District’s leadership implemented policies that make the Capital a great place for solar, they have designed programs that enable community-focused organizations to use solar power for economic empowerment. Everette Bradford from the District Department of Energy and Environment joined us to share the spirit and the letter of DC’s solar laws. His insight and his gracious invitation to meet in person to explore specific questions was another demonstration of the District’s commitment to make solar power work for its people.

Solar power is amplified by energy efficiency and other sustainability-focused strategies that make the buildings where we worship, work, and live better places. Taking that next step into sustainability also opens up an abundance of job opportunities in green building, which accounts for more than 3 million jobs in the US. Kimberly Lewis, a Senior Vice President at USGBC and a minister in her community, led us through the ADVANCE Campaign, which is designed to support faith communities, schools, and other service organizations to develop sustainability programs that can include job training. Building a green ministry with solar power as a visible demonstration of leadership and opportunity, and it’s another way to link solar power and economic empowerment for our communities.

You don’t have to wait until our next Faith and Fellowship Luncheon if you’d like to explore how solar power can equip your ministry and mission. We are here to serve the community, so whether Groundswell’s Share Power community solar program is a right fit or not, we will help you understand the abundant and complex solar marketplace to support you along your way.