North Carolina mosque aiming to be among first in country to go solar

North Carolina mosque aiming to be among first in country to go solar
(Monday, September 21, 2015) 06:50

From plans for 6,000 solar-powered mosques in Jordan to a community-funded solar mosque in Turkey, many muslims across the world have been embracing clean energy.

Now a mosque in Charlotte, North Carolina is aiming to also do its part in promoting creation care—partnering with a local solar company to encourage 40 congregants to install solar on their homes, and in return receiving a 32.24 Kw solar array as a donation from PowerHome Solar, located in Moorseville, NC.

The nature of the arrangement is, in part, because North Carolina's regulated energy market makes it extremely hard for faith communities to benefit from the various clean energy incentives. Here's how the press release from the Mosque sums up the challenge:

"This financing model is innovative in a state that presents many barriers for faith institutions to go solar. North Carolina is one of only four states in the country that forbids the third party sale of electricity—meaning that it is illegal to buy electricity from any entity besides the regulated monopoly utility. This ban makes it difficult for faith institutions and other non-profits without a tax appetite or upfront capital to access renewable energy. Furthermore, with North Carolina’s 35 percent renewable energy tax credit set to expire at the end of the year, people across the state—including MAS congregants—are eager to get their share of solar while they can."

Members of the mosque emphasized that they want this project to serve as a model for others. With the launch of the recent Islamic Climate Declaration by faith leaders from around the world, there is a growing push within this community for adopting solutions to climate change. Here's how Osama Idilbi, president of MAS Charlotte, set out the moral and religious case for going green:

"There are many verses in the Qur'an explaining how God has made us stewards of the earth. With this solar project, our intent is to create a way for our members to tread lightly on creation, conserve resources, and lead by example. We want solar for MAS because we believe there are better ways to get energy—ways that don’t pollute our water or create conflict. We hope this project will serve as a model and create a ripple effect of peaceful solutions."

Meanwhile a church in Greensboro has been directly challenging North Carolina's ban on third party solar sales, installing solar panels that were paid for by activist group NC WARN and then paying NC WARN for the electricity that is generated.

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