A Kentucky church is embracing solar power as a means to help the community and reduce their carbon footprint.

Campton Baptist Church, part of the Red River Baptist Association, has installed 80 solar panels on the roof of the church, a project sponsored and installed by SonLight Power, an Ohio-based nonprofit that provides renewable electricity to communities worldwide. This was their first project in the United States.

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Campton’s pastor, Gary Conner, sees the project as a “way to invest in the community.”

Conner hopes the solar panels will contribute to educational opportunities in the community for science classes to take the opportunity to learn about solar energy and observe it firsthand at Campton Baptist.

He also is excited to engage the eastern Kentucky community by sending a message that Campton Baptist takes conservation seriously.

And the church desires not only to save on their utility bill but also put those savings into missions and ministry.

The system, which generates 22,000 watts of power, will aid the surrounding community as well. When the church is not using the power, the solar energy will go back into the grid. Over the course of 40 years, the church expects a savings of $120,000. They plan to install a geothermal unit for heating and air conditioning in the future.

In addition, the church hopes that by spreading awareness of the use of solar power, more of the generally coal-powered community will take notice and eventually jobs in solar power will be created in the area.

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