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150-year-old Indiana church installs solar panels

The First Presbyterian Church is hoping the sunlight shines bright on their 48 new solar panels.

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WHAS11) -- The First Presbyterian Church in Jeffersonville is hoping the sunlight shines bright on their 48 new solar panels.

On Sunday, members of the congregation celebrated their new sustainable energy project expected to generate 25-30 percent of the church's electrical power each year.

"I like the thought that it's a next step in keeping up with time and technology for a church that has to adapt to the world it's in. When we moved here we heated with a coal furnace and lighted with kerosene lamps, that's 150 years ago. Yes, 1860 we moved to this corner, so just another step in moving forward with time," Pastor Don Summerfield said.

Part of their inspiration for the project was scripture teachings calling for conservation of the earth.

"We are called to not just use them up, but to care for them, nurture them, grow them if we can, so that they will bless others and give life to others and be there for others who follow after us … It's part of a larger stewardship and understanding that we have as Christians," Summerfield said. 

Summerfield's wife and the church's green team leader Trisha Tull says they were one of five Indiana churches to receive a grant for the panels through the help of Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light.


They are hoping to spread the word and encourage more households, congregations and businesses to consider renewable energy.
"It's a start and it makes solar power visible in a lot of different communities and does inspire members to get solar and other churches in the neighborhood to think about the benefits of doing this," Tull said.

The First Presbyterian Church in Jeffersonville is holding a chili super and solar panel forum on Wednesday, Nov. 18., starting at 5:00 p.m. Their address is 222 Walnut Street in Jeffersonville, Indiana.