DONALDSON, IN – The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ are proud to announce phase two of a renewable energy effort with two additional solar panel installations at The Center at Donaldson. “The Center at Donaldson has a long history of making choices beneficial to our planet – from our geothermal heating/cooling, to hybrid and electric cars, to LED lighting throughout our campus. So, this extension of our solar project is another step in a healthy-planet direction following guidance in Laudato Sí (“the Pope’s climate encyclical Our Common Home”) from Pope Francis,” said Sister Judith Diltz, PHJC, Provincial of the American Province of The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ.
A 515 kilowatt (DC) ground-mounted installation at Ancilla College will supply 75% of the electricity needs for the Residence Halls and college classrooms. An additional 41 kilowatts will be installed on the roof of Lindenwood Retreat and Conference Center, covering about 33% of the building’s demand. Altogether, installing these 1,500 solar panels is like removing 60 homes from the electrical grid.
This renewable energy installation follows The Center at Donaldson’s journey into using electric vehicles to reduce air pollution and save on transportation costs. A plug-in hybrid that runs on both gasoline and electricity is used for longer journeys, while a fully electric car is used regularly for local and regional trips. The solar panels produce enough energy annually to power over two million miles of vehicle travel.
The Center at Donaldson continues their work with the Appalachian Institute for Renewable Energy (aire-nc.org) on this project. Appalachian Institute for Renewable Energy (AIRE) specializes in working with non-profits to effectively own and operate renewable energy systems.
Steve Owen, Co-Founder & Executive Director of AIRE said, “Not only are Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ taking responsibility for their own carbon emissions and demonstrating that such actions are practical and economically sound, they’re leading by example. There’s a quote attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, which embodies what is so wonderful about Poor Handmaids’ ongoing renewable energy initiatives: ‘preach always; sometimes use words.’ This story is still unfolding and there’ll be more innovation we’re certain, and we hope others will take note and learn from these inspiring Sisters.”
Green Alternatives of Kokomo, Indiana will be installing the panels over the summer, with the system commissioned and powered on by fall.
Julie Dowd, Communications Dir., PHJC