St. Charles Set to Receive Solar Panels and More
by Gabe Triplett
Holly Lebowitz Rossi writes “Is there any greater act of garden faith than tucking bulbs into the ground just before the freezing cold hardens the earth for winter? Digging, arranging and patting down an array of bulbs has become my launching pad for a positive path through the cold, dark season. Like with every garden task, our charge is to persist despite the ever-present possibility that things won’t turn out like we expect them to.” Years ago, the Pastoral and Administrative councils met to discuss the ways in which our parish could use its facilities more effectively towards our mission. Solar panels on our roof was one idea that came forward. How to pay for such an idea seemed out of reach!
The staff began looking for resources to make the idea a reality. With the help of Neil Kelly and parishioner Phylis Spaulding we applied for a grant from Pacific Power for almost half million dollars and we prayed. As is often the case with planting bulbs, come the following spring our efforts did not blossom, we were denied our application and encouraged to try again next year (2017).
We did try again the following year, this time bringing our neighborhood partner, Verde, into the project. I am happy to report that nearly 3 years of work and prayer will soon bare much fruit. With $300,000 dollars from Pacific Power and nearly $100,000 more from Verde, we will soon begin a project that when completed will include a massive solar system on the school roof. This promises to significantly decrease our carbon footprint and also our monthly energy bill (which averages around $1,500!!). The Project will include off grid technology that can store power on site to supply, what will be newly installed outlets on the north side of our school wing, as well as our SVDP refrigerators in the case of a disaster. Most importantly this project includes funding for a large-scale environmental education campaign.
Through this project we will be able to respond to Pope Francis’ call to evangelize our faith of caring for God’s creation through caring for God’s creation. A special thank you to the many parishioners who worked to get this project to where it is. Yours was the work of hope. Rossi says “The work of hope. What an inspiring phrase to capture the effort required, not only to choose, prepare and plant the bulbs, but to set our sights on the bright, warm days that we won’t see for many months.”