An $102,000 PSE grant paid for solar panels that were installed at Kent United Methodist Church. The project will help the church offset its annual energy costs by about 75%. COURTESY PHOTO, PSE

An $102,000 PSE grant paid for solar panels that were installed at Kent United Methodist Church. The project will help the church offset its annual energy costs by about 75%. COURTESY PHOTO, PSE

Solar power arrives at Kent United Methodist Church

PSE grant pays for $102,000 project that will reduce church’s energy costs and its carbon footprint

Kent United Methodist Church (UMC) decided to let the sun shine in with a new solar installation project that will reduce its energy costs and carbon footprint.

The church hosted a ribbon-cutting June 5 to celebrate the completed project, paid for with an $102,000 solar energy grant from Puget Sound Energy (PSE).

The solar panels will provide the church an estimated 41,348 kilowatt-hours per year, which will offset nearly 75% of its annual energy use, according to a PSE media release.

“Kent UMC is known for their deep ties within the community and extensive environmental efforts, which PSE is proud to support,” said Will Einstein, PSE director of New Product Development. “Our partnership is an example of how we can work together to bring clean energy to all our customers.”

The church, 11010 SE 248th St., is one of 13 organizations and tribes across PSE’s service area receiving a portion of the nearly $1 million in grant funding through the company’s Green Power and Solar Choice programs.

“This grant will help us to take the next step in our transition to renewable energy while partnering with PSE to further educate our congregation, our wider community, United Methodist churches in the Pacific Northwest and across our country,” said Jim Head-Corliss, lead pastor at Kent UMC. “We look forward to sharing the positive benefits of renewable energy with a diverse range of faith communities in the greater Kent area.”

The congregation’s Creation Care Team spearheaded the project, part of the church’s overall emphasis on saving energy and reducing emissions from the church building. The team is leading the congregation in responding individually and as a church to care for God’s creation and help the environment, according to a Kent UMC media release.

In April 2021, several agencies of the national United Methodist Church pledged to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across the organizations/ministries, facilities, operations and investments by 2050.

The grant, funded by PSE’s Green Power and Solar Choice customers, brings local solar projects to the company’s electric service area while providing support to grant recipients through lower utility bills for low-income or Black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) communities and the organizations that serve them.

The church will use all the solar energy it generates first. Any extra generation will be banked to draw from when the church is consuming more energy than generating.

Auburn-based MAD Energy NW installed the solar project.

In addition to the nearly $1 million in grants awarded for installation this year, PSE has provided an additional $2.4 million in grant funding for 35 local projects over the last four years, resulting in over 1,100 kilowatts of newly installed solar capacity, and nearly 1.1 million kilowatt hours of annual generation. PSE’s Green Power Solar Grant program will open June 21 for applications to its next competitive funding cycle.

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