Ashgrove West Uniting Church in Brisbane’s western suburbs recently had solar panels installed and the investment is already paying dividends.
The Ashgrove West site has a church and a two-storey hall that is rented out to community groups, with many activities held during the day.
Church council member Calvin Hanton says that the congregation has been considering solar panels for some time.
“We identified solar as a way for the congregation to operate sustainably, while also saving money in the long term.”
Interest was heightened after an article in Journey magazine introducing the Solar Investment Scheme and profiling the installation of panels at the Uniting Church Centre.
“The process of liaising with the Synod office, and then GEM Energy was seamless,” says Calvin. “We are happy with the outcome and are now able to enjoy the benefits that this investment will bring. I would recommend the scheme to any congregation. We did not use the Synod scheme as we had funds available.
“We opted for a system that is in excess of the current power bills, so that we are actually creating an income stream as well as paying our power bills and paying for itself. Church facilities that have three-phase power connected to their buildings can achieve the greatest income and saving using the GEM Energy model as it will maximise the power being fed to the grid as well as covering local use during the day.”
Queensland Synod Director of Church Enterprises Stuart Christ said going solar demonstrates a commitment to corporate social responsibility which has the potential to grow a bottom line through a reduction in power bills.
“This scheme will work best for congregations that have their properties used during the day so the electricity production directly offsets electricity used,” said Stuart. “In regional areas there is often only one provider so electricity costs are usually higher—solar will pay for itself faster.”
The Synod has leveraged the UnitingCare agreement with GEM Energy as part of the scheme.
Speaking to Journey magazine earlier this year, GEM Energy CEO Jack Hooper said the technology is mature and proven to work reliably.
“The economic case for investing in clean, renewable energy has never looked better. Now is the right time to take advantage of the many benefits of going solar.”
The Synod office Solar Investment Scheme is open to all Uniting Church congregations and entities across Queensland.
For more information contact a member of the Synod office team.