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Plymouth Goes Solar

Plymouth Church is looking on the sunny side. Solar panels may be installed in the coming months on the south-facing roof that overlooks the driveway between our church and St. Augustin’s Catholic Church. This solar array is a landmark in our church-wide effort to live more sustainably and protect God’s creation.

As heard from the pulpit, particularly during our Rooted in Creation summer sermon series, we are called to care for God’s creation and ensure a safe and healthy planet for future generations of all life—be it human, animal, or plant.

During this COVID-19 crisis, the effects of climate change are abundantly clear. As humans stop flying, driving, and gathering in large crowds, we see dramatically cleaner air and water in major cities around the world. We also realize how innovative, resilient, and compassionate people are in a crisis. This pandemic is the perfect time to rethink how we live and work and to make adjustments that allow us and Mother Earth to thrive.

What better way to alert people to clean energy options than with a solar display on our church. Visibility is a key component of the project. The 2003 addition roof is prime because it provides optimum southern exposure to the sun. Also, the installation will be visible from the south (Grand Avenue) and southwest (some stretches of 42nd Street) sides. At the same time, the array will not be seen from the front (Ingersoll Avenue) or east side so as to not impinge on the historic architecture of the church.

The Plymouth Creation Care and Justice Coalition and the House and Space Committee are spearheading this installation after investing the past few years researching feasible environmentally friendly options. A $50,000 grant request is pending with the Plymouth Foundation to finance the installation.

If the grant is approved, we will work throughout the summer with Des Moines city officials to gain zoning approval and file for permits. Plymouth staff and House and Space committee members will hire and supervise a solar contractor. The solar panels may be up and hard at work by the Fall of 2020.

To read more details about the Plymouth solar project and solar energy in general, please download the following documents:

Plymouth Church Solar Power Plan

Plymouth Church Solar Power FAQ