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Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church’s Solar Project wins “Renewable Role Model” Award

By Staff | Apr 27, 2015

In a first of its kind project, residents and businesses in this small town in Jefferson County, West Virginia came together to do what was once seemingly impossible making solar power affordable for any church or non-profit in one of the most coal-dependent states in America. Nearly 100 families and businesses in and around Shepherdstown made the project possible through an innovative crowd funding campaign.

Working with Solar Holler, the church was able to go solar with no cost upfront or in the future. Instead, funding for the project was raised through the installation of demand response controllers on community members’ electric water heaters. The water heater controllers were installed and operated by Mosaic Power, a smart grid technology company in Frederick, Maryland. Mosaic Power manages water heaters as a virtual power plant responding to the electricity grid in real time to make it more efficient and balance supply and demand.

Through this demand response service, Mosaic Power reduces blackouts and pollution. Mosaic Power pays property owners $100 per tank per year for participation. Rather than taking the money themselves, project supporters agreed to have their payments support the church’s solar project. And by using Mosaic controllers as the funding source, the church drastically scaled up its climate impact each Mosaic controller eliminates as much carbon pollution as six solar panels.