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Sandy church now powered by sunshine

Solar panels atop the Community of Grace Presbyterian Church (Photo: Rocky Mountain Power)

SANDY — A Presbyterian church in Utah was starting to show its age last year, and parishioners decided to add solar power when they fixed the roof. The solar array is now providing most of its electric power.

Rocky Mountain Power says a grant from the utility’s Blue Sky program covered about 70 percent of the cost to purchase and install the panels at Community of Grace Presbyterian Church, which elder Jeffrey Schreiber says were installed in the shape of a cross.

The program, which relies on power customers to sustain, funds community-based renewable energy products throughout the three states that Rocky Mountain Power serves: Utah, Wyoming and Idaho. Similar to government bonds, customers buy renewable energy “blocks,” which are matched by the utility, to help fund those projects. The energy blocks come from about half wind and half solar programs across western states. A number of other churches and service organizations in Utah have installed solar panels under the same program.

Community of Grace leaders expect the solar set-up to cover about 85 percent of the electricity the church uses over the course of a year.