Carbondale church first to install solar panels, looks to sustai - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Carbondale church first to install solar panels, looks to sustainability

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CARBONDALE -- Church of the Good Shepherd is becoming Carbondale's first church to install solar panels and make the switch to renewable energy.

From the ground, you won't be able to see much, but from above, the 24 new solar panels are being placed on the roof.

"We felt that over many many years, that we wanted to actually reduce our footprint in regards to carbon dioxide," said Dale Ritzel, building and grounds coordinator.

Church of the Good Shepherd is part of the United Church of Christ, a congregation that takes great pride in sustainability. With incentives through the state, Dale Ritzel says the church will get around 90% of the money spent on the solar system back within the first year.

"It came to the point where it was logical thing to do because we could get most of our money back with the incentives they have in the state of Illinois," explained Ritzel. 

The switch to solar will save the church around $1000 a year in energy savings and around $35,000 over the course of 25 years.

Dale's son Brent works for StraightUp Solar, based out of St. Louis. He says the upfront cost often scares people away, but it pays for itself over the years.

"You're basically purchasing your next 30 to 40 years of energy over the next month or two, but you're going to get it for one fifth to one sixth of the cost," said Brent Ritzel.  

Cost savings while reducing emissions seem like a win-win, and Church of the Good Shepherd hopes it encourages other churches in the area to make the switch.

"We felt that as the first church in Carbondale, and the first church that we're aware of in southern Illinois to do this, that other churches will become interested in doing solar systems too," explained Dale Ritzel.  

The installation was occurring on Thursday afternoon and expected to be completed and online by Friday.

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