When Pope Francis called for “swift and unified global action” on environmental issues in May 2015, the monks at St. Benedict’s Monastery in Capitol Creek Valley took it to heart.
The monks are installing a 202-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system at their picturesque ranch, and the system will offset 100 percent of electricity use at the chapel, retreat center and other buildings. The project is partially financed by a $75,000 grant from the Community Office for Energy Efficiency.
Father Josef Boyle, the abbot of the 3,000-plus-acre ranch where the monastery is located, said Wednesday the monks felt morally responsible to heed the pope’s call.
“The monastery has an interest in it partially to be environmentally safe and use the environment in the best way,” Father Josef said. “So that’s what got it going.”
It also makes financial sense. The monastery will invest its own funds in the projects, which will pay for itself in energy savings in about 10 years, he said.
There are at least three other monasteries of their order that also are installing solar photovoltaic systems, he said.
The monastery will sell the energy produced to Holy Cross Energy and receive credit on its electricity use.
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