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What is Limestone’s solar project?
Note: The solar project was started and finished in 2008.
The founders of Limestone Presbyterian Church built a church that expressed their faith; they provided a place for worshipping God together (the great commandment is to love God), and they built a simple building that would be easy to maintain so more funds could be used for missions with the building itself being available for use by community groups (the great commandment is also to love your neighbor).
"The earth is the Lord’s
The southern direction of the Limestone sanctuary roof and its angle could not have been designed better (wonderful in both direction and pitch) for mounting solar panels on it that can convert the sun's rays into electricity which will then be sent out onto the electrical grid (avoiding the expense of batteries). On sunny days when we are not using much electricity, our church's electrical meter will go backwards. In the evenings or when it is raining, the meter will move forward when electricity is being used in the building. The 180 solar panels will produce, in an environmentally-friendly manner, about 2/3 of the electricity that Limestone uses annually.
What do the Bible and the Church teach us?
One of the best known verses in the Bible is John 3:16, “For God so loved the world…” The word “world” here is the Greek word cosmos and means all of creation so God’s love in Jesus is for the whole creation (including people, animals, plants and more). In the first chapter of the first book of the Bible we are told that humanity is created to take care of God’s creation (Genesis 1:26). The prayer book for God’s people for three thousand years, the book of Psalms, proclaims that the “earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it” (Psalm 24:1). The Evangelical Environmental Network has an excellent online Bible study looking at caring for creation in the scriptures.
Guided by biblical teachings, our Presbyterian Church (USA) constitution (Book of Order) states:
Our 1990 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) first declared “its serious concern” about climate change. The Assembly warned that “the global atmospheric warming trend (the greenhouse effect) represents one of the most serious global environmental challenges to the health, security, and stability of human life and natural ecosystems...” in a study paper titled "Restoring Creation for Ecology and Justice."
Our 2008 General Assembly approved a new major study titled "The Power to Change: U.S. Energy Policy and Global Warming" that lays out a clear and well documented path toward sustainability and equity to protect future generations. A recent Presbyterians Today cover story, "Living Lightly on God’s Creation,” states “Global warming — today’s ‘breaking news’— is not news to Presbyterians long committed to caring for the Earth.” Solar panels will help Limestone Presbyterians do what we say we believe we are called to do in our church constitution and study papers, but this is not a uniquely Presbyterian belief or practice.
All major Christian denominations now understand that God is calling humanity to better care for God's creation.
What are the benefits to Limestone of the solar project?Solar Benefits Charts (PDF View Online )
How much will it cost?
The solar project does cost $251,790, but half of its costs ($125,895) are covered by an
Delaware Energy Alternatives Program rebate.
The solar panels are guaranteed for 25 years by General Electric. We hope the savings we will have by producing our own electricity,
along with funds we will get from "Renewal Energy Credits"
(RECs) for producing non-polluting
electricity, will pay off the ten-year loan. RECs are only mandated by Delaware for the next ten years
so we benefit more from them the sooner we install the panels. Limestone Church Treasurer,
Dr. Fred Kirschman, wrote the Session the following: "After careful review of the data and much
thought about this project I offer a business/financial perspective. The Financial Model has been
evaluated by several engineers and other experts. Detail sensitivity analysis was also performed.
From this perspective there is no economic reason not to do this project. It is completely self
sufficient….The project will pay off the original loan in about 10 to 12 years. Inverters may need
replacement around year 12. From years 14 to 25 the project has a positive cash flow with a potential
to return to the church about $40,000 over the life of the project." It represents no financial risk
or requirement of the congregation. Our Presbytery of New Castle has given us a short-term loan until
a loan from the Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program (PILP) is finalized.
We do need to pay now for a $30,000 new roof on which the solar panels will be installed.
Contributions are welcomed and needed for our roof-solar project.
Please send your tax-deductible, special gift for the Limestone Presbyterian Church's
roof and solar project to the church office at 3201 Limestone Road, Wilmington, DE 19808.
Limestone’s Sunny Leaders
The solar project at Limestone Presbyterian Church is the result of the hard work of many church members and friends over a year.
Pastors Bruce and Carolyn Gillette are grateful to serve with Limestone Presbyterians
since being called there in August 2004. The Gillettes’ life-long love of God’s creation began when
they were children from camping trips with their families and when Bruce was a Boy Scout.
In the fall of 2004,shortly after coming to Limestone, a friend of the Gillettes, Andy Rudin of the Interfaith Coalition on Energy, did an energy audit of the Limestone Church and made many helpful energy-savings recommendations that Bob VanderDecker implemented.
After attending several lectures at the University of Delaware (and serving on a panel discussion for one), Pastor Bruce Gillette testified for Wind Project before Delaware’s Public Service Commission. Pastor Carolyn Gillette and other Limestone Presbyterians gave out solar BOGO lights on the church’s June 2008 mission trip to Honduras.
Carolyn is also a popular hymn writer and her environmental hymn, "The Earth is the Lord’s," was posted by Church World Service on their web site.
did careful research, the Gillettes had solar panels installed on their home in December 2007.
Email Bruce and Carolyn with questions about Limestone’s solar project and other ways people can care for God’s creation
Solar panels on Gillette house