Kent United Methodist Church recently received a $102,000 solar energy grant from Puget Sound Energy, which says will reduce the church’s annual energy costs as well as reduce its carbon footprint.

The grant was provided through PSE’s Green Power and Solar Choice programs to help the church install a new solar array.

Kent UMC is one of 13 organizations and tribes across PSE’s service area receiving a portion of nearly $1 million in total grant funding, awarded in December 2021, allowing them to install new solar projects. Kent UMC will have a 40 kW DC size solar array installed providing an estimated 41,348 kWh per year which will help them offset nearly 75% of their annual energy use. MAD Energy NW helped the church with the grant writing and the installation process of the solar array.

“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 annual generation of all the grant-funded projects will total about 514,000 kWh annually, equivalent to powering nearly 50 homes each year with newly installed solar from the Puget Sound region. The solar installations help local organizations reduce operating costs while also reducing their carbon footprint by using renewable energy they’ve generated.

“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.”

Recipients of this solar grant range from local non-profits, housing authorities and tribal entities serving low-income and Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) community members. In addition to saving recipients money on their utilities, the projects will serve to further clean energy in the region.

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 4 years, resulting in over 1,100 kW of newly installed solar capacity, and nearly 1,100,000 kWh of annual generation. PSE’s Green Power Solar Grant program will open for applications to its next competitive funding cycle in late June 2022.

Scott Schaefer

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