Two Congregations Partner to Go Green

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Photos courtesy of the Islamic Center of East Lansing.

The Islamic Center of East Lansing and University Lutheran Church, both featured left, partnered to install solar panels, featured right.

On Saturday, April 24th at 1 p.m. the Islamic Center of East Lansing and the University Lutheran Church celebrated their newly installed photovoltaic systems, symbolizing the joint efforts of the two religious centers. This event, held in between the two properties, was limited to an invited audience due to the Covid-19 gathering restrictions.

This isn’t the first time the two congregations have worked together. Previously, both partnered on Kids Against Hunger and a joint landscaping project in between their two properties.

But now, both the Islamic Center of East Lansing and the University Lutheran Church share a desire to reduce their carbon footprints and felt the need to become more environmentally sustainable. Each installed their own individual photovoltaic systems, a type of solar panel. This project allowed them to achieve their sustainability goals to run on clean energy.

Thasin Sardar, a member of ELi’s Community Advisory Board, described the religious centers’ collaborative work by stating, “This was a joint initiative even though it is on our respective properties, the vision behind this was joined, and we want to recognize and celebrate that. This promotes harmony and mutual respect in our community and in our respective congregation.”

The Islamic Center’s recently installed structure is a 10.24 kilowatt hour (kWh) photovoltaic system, which consists of two groups of 16 panels. The system is estimated to generate 12,528kWh each year.

The Michigan Interfaith Power & Light (IPL) awarded the Islamic Center of East Lansing with the Cool Congregations award this year in the community inspiration category for its efforts in installing solar panels and gifting the University Lutheran Church, its neighbor, the help to start solar panel installations as well.

IPL aims to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy practices by partnering with religious affiliations. They hope to promote faith and sustainability practices at the same time.

The Islamic Center was one of five places across the United States to receive this award and was given a $1,000 prize and a certificate to assist in purchasing more solar panels for the Center. The University Lutheran Church received an honorable mention for this award as well.

“This [project of the Islamic Center and University Lutheran Church] shows that houses of worship are ideally suited to embrace such projects. By working together, we can inspire members of our respective congregations to go solar in their own homes and generally build awareness about sustainable development goals,” said Sardar.

Executive Director of Michigan IPL Leah Wiste and others spoke at the event to celebrate the two religious centers working together to become more environmentally sustainable.

You can also donate to the Islamic Center of East Lansing’s fund to complete phase-two of the solar panel project at this link here. They hope to raise $50,000 to complete this project. The installed cost of each panel.

You can view a recording of the ceremony here.

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