Grand Rapids church installs solar panels, calls on other churches to do the same

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Courtesy Calvin Christian Reformed Church

A local church installed 126 solar panels on its roof as part of a shift toward renewable energy and is encouraging other churches to follow suit.

Calvin Christian Reformed Church this month installed the solar panels on its church roof. The project is expected to keep 5.4 million pounds of CO2 out of the atmosphere — the equivalent of 7.4 American homes being taken off the grid or the carbon sequestered by 3,000 acres of forest in a year, said Nate Dierlam, a church member who spearheaded the project.

“As Christians, we are called to be stewards,” said Dierlam, who is a member of the building and grounds committee at CCRC who brought the proposal before the leadership team early this year. “This array lowers our carbon emissions and supports our calling to respect God’s creation and address climate change.”

CCRC said it would like to bring awareness to other congregations and show them it is feasible to lessen their carbon footprint and better care for the environment.

“We want to help other churches see how they can afford this and fulfill a biblical mandate in scripture to take care of our planet,” Dierlam said. “We want other churches to know it’s not difficult and there are ways they can financially do this.”

The church is expected to offset 38% of its electrical use annually, which will allow it to redirect funds to missions and outreach.

“It may not be for every church,” said Gordon Vandenberg, a deacon and member of CCRC since 1970. “But, we all need to be concerned with the environment. I would encourage other churches to at least look into it.”

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