Catching the Light at Deer Park United Church

By Jan Van Egteren

Solar Panels
Celebrating the new solar panels on the Deer Park building.

There is great desire to be good stewards of the earth in the Deer Park and St. Andrew’s United Church congregations. In 2018, when the Alberta Provincial Government announced enhancements to its Residential and Commercial Solar Program, an ad hoc committee was formed to pursue putting solar panels on the Deer Park building’s roof.

The committee was called Catch the Light. After obtaining indicative quotes from a couple of solar system providers, the committee determined how much money the church would need to raise for the project, net of the Provincial government grant.  A grant application was submitted, and after initial approval for the grant by Energy Efficiency Alberta, a fund-raising initiative was kicked off to raise approximately $40,000 to install a 29.26 Kw solar panel system.  Approximately $20,000 was provided by the Provincial grant.

To raise funds the committee first screened a video called Understanding the Weather Machine.  This raised awareness of the urgency of climate change.  Then an Open House and Silent auction were held with auction items such as original paintings, glass art, wildlife photography, handmade quilts and vacation accommodation donated by participants of Deer Park and St. Andrew’s United Churches (The two congregations worship together on Sunday morning). Donations also came from businesses in the surrounding community.  Finally, solar panels were “sold” to individual donors at $500/panel. 

The fundraising was successful and the system went live on October 24th.

The benefits?

• Locking-in at least part of our electricity costs for 25 years.

• Showing environmental leadership and partnership in the surrounding community.

• A unifying sense of action taken, and a job well done. 

To see how much electricity is being generated, please go to Solar Panel FAQ to access the Solar Edge Monitoring website.  

The Catch the Light Ad Hoc Committee with the new solar panels