In the 608: How a Madison church went solar

MADISON, Wis. – Solar power has become a thing of the future for the Lutheran Church of the Living Christ in Madison.

133 solar panels now line the roof to provide power for the church and school. Through a combination of grant funding and donations, the church was able to have a 50-kilowatt system installed that will help reduce, or eliminate, their monthly electric bill.

It’s something Dustin Sumner with Sun Badger Solar says is promising going forward.

“Solar in Wisconsin is a relatively new concept, but there are federal tax credits, there’s a state rebate available in Wisconsin today, and there’s also tax write-offs for certain businesses,” Sumner explained. “In a situation like this, with a non-profit organization, they don’t have that tax liability so we have to get donations and different grants.”

In the first few months, they’re already seeing the benefits, with 50 to 60 percent of their electricity being covered. To put that into perspective, the solar panels are putting out enough energy on average to power ten homes. Over time, that number is expected to increase to a point where they can sell it back to the grid, with credits going back onto their account.

Brett Veerman, the chair of the properties board, was one of the project’s biggest supporters, and he’s proud of the positive impact they’re already making.

“It’s been a discussion in our properties board for years now, and finally within the last year or two we’ve had it come together, because enough people have come forward and said yes that would make sense now,” Veerman explained.

Pastor Dan Cowert tells News 3 Now the donors wanted to do something that would have an impact beyond their lifetime, and over the long run they hope it will help build a better tomorrow.

“I think that was a motivating factor for our members, especially the older ones, which surprised us,” Cowert said. “It wasn’t just the younger people but the older people who stepped up, and I think they saw that this was an opportunity for them to give something back toward the future and for the younger people they enjoy seeing in church.”

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