Decatur church installs solar panels, supports pope’s climate change message

Posted by Dena Mellick June 25, 2015
The recently-installed solar panels at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church. Photo from Facebook/Hannah Solar, LLC

The recently-installed solar panels at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church. Photo from Facebook/Hannah Solar, LLC

A Decatur-area church has installed solar panels.

St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in greater Decatur celebrated the installation at a Monday gathering to also support Pope Francis’ recent message about climate change.

Earlier this year, Hannah Solar, LLC installed about $200,000 worth of solar panels “zero cost to the parish” through a federal program, according to a story on the Episcopal News Service.

St. Timothy’s Rev. Daniel Dice told the news service that the solar panels make financial and ecological sense. The article said, “By selling the clean energy produced at St. Timothy’s back to the grid, the photovoltaic array atop St. Timothy’s will also help financially support the church’s mission and ministry to its community.”

Dice said, as a result of the solar panel installation, St. Timothy’s was chosen to hold Monday’s gathering to show support for the pope’s encyclical calling on people to stop polluting the planet.

St. Timothy’s is not the only church in the area to install solar panels. Holy Trinity Parish in downtown Decatur installed solar panels several years ago on its Tisdale Hall. You can actually see in real time how much energy the church’s solar array generates. The church was a tour stop during a Christian environmental conference held in downtown Decatur in April.

Beth Bond, the conference organizer leading the tour group said, “Their fellowship hall is LEED certified. So we have lots of great examples in Decatur of churches leading in regards to environmental issues.”

As Decaturish previously reported, attendees of the conference said they wanted to change the perception that the church is not concerned with environmental issues.

Many churches now have committees or teams that focus on issues of sustainability and environmentalism. Decatur’s Holy Trinity Parish has a Green Ministry Team, according to its website. Georgia Interfaith Power & Light (GIPL) is a branch of an interfaith ministry that works to deepen “the connection between ecology and faith.” The website said the campaign is active in nearly 40 states. Bond noted that the founders of GIPL attend Holy Trinity Parish.

It’s not just churches getting the solar treatment. Agnes Scott College installed five solar arrays on campus this year that generate 340,000 kilowatt-hours a year. And a new state law that goes into effect on July 1st would make solar panels more accessible to homeowners.

Speakers at the April environmental conference noted solar panels are great, but there are lots of additional ways homeowners can be environmentally friendly without having to add solar panels to their homes.

About Dena Mellick

Dena Mellick is the Associate Editor of

View all posts by Dena Mellick

  • Chris Billingsley

    Thanks Dena. This church, at the corner of Flat Shoals and Clifton Church Road, is a beautiful facility that I have long admired while driving in the neighborhood on business. There are several other churches in the immediate area, along with three or more historic cemeteries, that make it a very desirable neighborhood for youngsters. Back in the day, this area was part of the Soap Stone Ridge Native American community. After that, it was a farming and dairy area of south DeKalb. Suburban housing was constructed in the late Fifties and Sixties and there are still some fabulous neighborhoods in the area. I hope that the new home buyers will not only join and support the local churches but also investigate the surrounding area for its unique history.
    Just a few other comments. Liberal Protestants love Pope Francis when he talks about the environment but ignore his teaching (and the Catholic Church’s teachings) on the unborn. I also want to suggest that when modern churches takes handouts from Caesar, in the form of government solar panel subsidies, they will find that there is a cost. Churches should be careful about government handouts. It’s not free and Ceasar will call sooner or later.

    • Dena Mellick

      Thanks for the comment and history of the area, Chris! Good points for discussion.

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