DOE Grants $116,000 to Lakewood United Methodist Church

Lakewood United Methodist Church’s building project has strangely warmed the churches and people in the Mountain Sky Conference. 

Quick Facts:

  • The church is GOING SOLAR! 
  • Consultants helped find federal programs to pay $116,000. 
  • The local energy company did a building energy audit.
  • Members made donations.
  • Methodists Helping Methodists Foundation provided an affordable loan for the rest. 

As soon as the system is turned on, the church will break even with the financial cost of the project. 

The ripple effect has gone far beyond Lakewood United Methodist Church. This church has inspired churches and people, including board members of our Foundation. People are getting energy audits in their homes. Some will go solar. Others may change to LED light bulbs, improve insulation, and caulk around the windows. Church leaders are surprised that federal grants are available to help pay for solar. People and church leaders alike have been surprised how helpful the local energy companies have been. All are shocked that small changes yield big cost savings. Everyone feels good about using less energy.

The ripple effect also inspired the Methodists Helping Methodists Foundation to research, write and release a guide for other churches to save energy and save money. These projects can seem overwhelming and complicated if one is not an electrical engineer. The Foundation’s guide will help  churches get started navigating the complexities of energy improvements. 

Lakewood United Methodist Church is the third church that borrowed money from the Foundation for a solar project. The first was in 2011 for Mountain View United Methodist Church in Boulder, Colorado. Some would call this church an early adopter of solar technology, thanks in part to the engineers in the congregation. The engineers calculated the possibilities and even found a way to cash in on tax credits, even though the church does not pay taxes. 

And then, in 2015, the Foundation loaned money to First United Methodist Church in Glenwood Springs, Colorado for the addition of solar panels to their roof. The church and members paid off the loan in record time thanks in part to a new electric bill that dropped to $ZERO the moment the contractors turned the system on. 

Now in 2024, there are so many more experts and money available to churches and their members. Lakewood United Methodist Church is one of the first faith-based nonprofits in the country to receive $116,000 from the federal government to help pay for their project. In addition, Excel Energy, their local energy provider, will provide energy credits to the church when the system produces more energy than the church can use. Solar energy generated will never go to waste. 

The Mountain Sky is buzzing with activity to save energy and money. The Climate Justice Team of the Mountain Sky Conference worked very hard to procure a grant from the Renew America’s Nonprofits (RAN) program to help churches serving low income communities. Green Teams in hundreds of churches are discovering big and small changes to reduce energy consumption and save the church money, so that more money can go toward ministry. 

People are inspired! One couple established the Energy Efficiency Improvement Trust at the Foundation that will help churches pay for the energy improvements. 

Are you inspired?

Here are some ways you can impact the world and inspire others: 

  1. Get involved with your church’s Green Team. If they don’t have one, then start one. 
  2. Share the Energy Guide and Building Guide with your church leaders.
  3. Contribute to the Energy Efficiency Improvement Trust
  4. Make an investment in the Methodists Helping Methodists Fund
  5. Call your own energy provider and see how they can help you in your home. 
  6. Invite your neighbors, friends, and families to join the good works of United Methodists.