Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church


A Church Committed to Creation Care

1656145_493888870717545_2096099019_nShepherdstown Presbyterian Church in Jefferson County, West Virginia is an open and inclusive spiritual community that practices radical hospitality—being welcoming and affirming to the entire world.  For the members of the congregation, being gratefully and joyfully present in our natural world is an important part of faith.  And what better way to be grateful than ensuring that we care for creation? We’ve wanted to go solar for years, but it had always been just out of reach.  Now, we’re excited to finally be able to do this, with the support of our community.

Shepherdstown Presbyterian is installing a 16 kW solar system using the Solar Holler model. Families and businesses around town are volunteering their electric water tanks to respond in real time to what the electricity grid needs–reducing pollution from the grid and generating income for the Church’s solar system. Former mayor Lance Dom, Studio 105, and Four Seasons Books were first installations! This project wouldn’t be feasible without the kind support of so many wonderful families and businesses around the area.

The Solar Holler Approach: Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church

Step 1: Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program

Working with the national Presbyterian Church’s non-profit Investment and Loan Program (the same folks who help build sanctuaries across the country), the Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church will take out a low-interest 10 year loan to install the new solar system.  All interest paid on the project will go toward supporting Presbyterian congregations across the country–including helping others go solar, too.

Step 2:  Mosaic Hot Water Savings Account

If you have an electric hot water tank, you can help Shepherdstown Presbyterian install solar while doubling your impact.  By working with Solar Holler to install a Mosaic smart box, you can provide a stable income stream ($100 per year per tank) to the Church (and maybe even get a tax deduction out of the deal!). And it doesn’t cost you a dime. How does this work?  Every time you flip on a light switch, or your AC or heater kicks on, there’s a little surge of power demand–a surge that power plants can’t account for.  In response, the power grid keeps diesel generators spinning 24/7 to account for those surges.

Diesel generators are the dirtiest, nastiest kids on the block. What if instead, we could use an untapped resource–our network of electric water tanks?  That’s what the Frederick, Maryland-based company Mosaic does.  They’ll install a little remote control on your tank, and when the grid needs power, reduce the electricity flow to your tank for a few minutes. You’ll still have hot water, just like you did before, because your water will already be hot and stored away.  Mosaic then sells the power savings to the utilities. It’s a great way to double your impact–reducing your own pollution, while helping the church reduce theirs.

Step 3: Build the Solar System

How many savings accounts do we need?  75 in Jefferson County will do.  And one of them could be yours! Then, working with our West Virginian installation partners, the panels go up!  Hooray!  The panels will continue producing clean, free power for the Church for the next 35 years.