Solar for Nonprofits Workshop

March 6th, 2023 | by Anne Brock
Oak Ridge church adds solar

Last Updated on January 19, 2024 by Anne Brock

Do More Good in Your Community

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Do more good in your community by first reducing one of your biggest operating expenses: electricity.  Could solar energy curb your utility bills, leaving more resources for your organization’s missionSee how your nonprofit qualifies for one of the biggest ever federal incentives to potentially cover a portion of your energy-saving project. You’re invited to a free workshop on solar for nonprofits, on Tuesday, March 28.  The workshop is from 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm at Faith Lutheran Church in Oak Ridge, where a new solar array is now atop one wing of the church building. 

“In effect, we are taking God’s ever-abundant gift of Tennessee sunshine and using it to provide ministry in His name to Tennessee people in need,” said Faith Lutheran Associate Pastor the Rev. George Smith. 

Solar for Faith Lutheran Church
Faith Lutheran Church adds solar to save utility costs and support ministries.

This workshop will cover how Faith Lutheran Church decided to add solar in 2023, with church leaders sharing the ins and outs of how the process has been for them.  The workshop will cover the new Direct Pay federal benefit for nonprofits along with some technical and financial background from Solar Alliance Vice President Harvey Abouelata.  

Appalachian Solar Finance Fund

Also sharing at the workshop will be a representative of the Appalachian Solar Finance Fund, which is supporting the solar project at Faith Lutheran.  “We look forward to sharing information about how the Appalachian Solar Finance Fund can provide financial and technical assistance to help Tennessee nonprofits and public institutions go solar,” said Autumn Long, Appalachian Solar Finance Fund (SFF) Director. The SFF will explain its application process for nonprofits and how it aims to support their work in the community.   

More Nonprofits Supporting Energy Projects for Nonprofits

For groups that need assistance up front with the expense of energy projects, the nonprofit Pathway Lending will have a representative to explain how its low-interest loans work. Additional nonprofits sharing how their work encourages renewable energy in the community include Interfaith Power & Light with its Cool Congregations program and Brugmansia Ministries. “Working to reduce the carbon footprints of our congregations is a way in which people of faith can live by the ‘Golden Rule’ and treat others the way that we wish to be treated,” said Courtney Shea with Tennessee Interfaith Power & Light. 

Direct Pay from Uncle Sam

Faith Lutheran Church will potentially be one of the first nonprofits in the nation to take advantage of the new Direct Pay feature the federal government provides as an incentive for energy-saving projects.  In place of the 30% tax break that a for-profit business would receive for adding solar, the church could qualify for a check back from the federal government, after project completion, to cover 30% of the cost. 

“This federal support for nonprofits allows a one-time investment to provide savings for decades to come. Just like teaching a man to fish feeds him for a lifetime, access to renewable energy incentives for nonprofits means they can reduce one of their biggest expenses and utilize their savings to further invest across the community.” said Solar Alliance Vice President Harvey Abouelata.  

Faith Lutheran Church is located at 1300 Oak Ridge Turnpike.  

Bill Koch  

Faith Lutheran Church 



Anne Brock 

Marketing Coordinator at Solar Alliance 



Autumn Long 

Director, Appalachian Solar Finance Fund 

Project Manager, Energy Storage & Electrification Manufacturing Jobs Project 



Brandon England 

Director – Sustainability Programs 

Pathway Lending 



Courtney Shea 

Tennessee Interfaith Power & Light Steering Committee Member 



Josh Richardson 


Brugmansia Ministries