You might be sick of high temperatures and the summer sun but diocesan leaders say, ‘let there be light!’

That’s because the Pastoral Center is joining a growing list of local parishes that are harnessing the region’s abundant sunshine to power its facilities. 

The Diocese broke ground on its Solar Energy Project on August 16th. The construction consists of 1,011 solar panels designed to produce more than 543 kilowatts of energy. The panels will be installed on a new carport that includes two charging stations for electric vehicles. Additionally, drought tolerant plants and decomposed granite will replace some traditional grass landscaping.

Bishop Gerald Barnes requested the renovation following Pope Francis’s Encyclical Laudato Si that discusses the environmental crisis from a spiritual perspective and the recent Pastoral Statement of the California Bishops that challenges churches to take action.

“Our Diocesan Solar Energy Project is one way to show we are serious about answering God’s call to be good stewards of his creation,” says Bishop Barnes. “It is my prayer that this will help all of the faithful consider how they, too, can honor this responsibility in their everyday lives.”

The Diocese purchased the solar carports from Renewable Energy Partners in Corona for $730,000. That money should be recouped in about nine years through electricity cost savings, according to the Diocesan Office of Construction and Real Estate. The Diocese is hopeful that the new system will shrink electricity costs by 75% or about $7,500 a month, meaningful saving for the diocese. 

“We have a lot of consumption of electricity because we have about 150 employees here at the Pastoral Center. This place runs seven days a week,” explains David Meier, Director of the Office of Construction and Real Estate. “We’re doing our part as a Diocese to help the environment.”

So much so…Renewable Energy Partners says the carbon offset of the project is equivalent to taking 44 cars off the road for one year.

Full story at Inland Catholic Byte.