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Can communities make a fossil fuel difference?

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By The Staff

What an exciting time to be alive. Large buildings, (such as churches, hospitals and schools) have adequate space on the roof (or on the property) to generate sustainable solar energy – enough to supply the needs of the organization, and to also supplement the needs of the community. The mission of FUSE (Faiths United for Sustainable Energy) is to educate and mobilize faith communities to act on the increasingly harmful effects of our country’s dependence on fossil fuels. You may learn more about the organization by visiting

www.fusenow.org.

Is solar viable for religious congregations? The answer is that it will become quite viable economically in the Gainesville area when a brand new renewable energy policy takes effect there in March. If this will work in Gainesville, what about Ocala and Marion County?

This same policy in Germany has led to widespread use of solar energy that works economically. Use of the feed-in tariff has dramatically cut Germany’s reliance on foreign carbon-based fuels.

FUSE is facilitating a meeting with Sean McClendon, the sustainability coordinator for the city of Gainesville. He will share information about Gainesville’s policy, and a vision for a possible Gainesville-Ocala (GO) Clean Energy Corridor. You, and leaders of your faith community, are invited to join us at Joy Lutheran Church, on Wednesday, March 11, at 1 pm.

The feed-in tariff is more attractive to solar investors than regular rebate programs because it guarantees that the utility will buy all the electricity produced by the photovoltaic (PV) system at a fixed rate for 20 years. It offers investors a reliable and predictable source of income. Alachua County is the first in the nation to implement the program.

FUSE is committed to assisting faith communities conserve energy, use more clean energy, and reduce our carbon emissions. FUSE also helps faith communities to advocate for public policy solutions at the scale of the problem.

The gathering at Joy is sponsored by the congregations listed below – who are looking into the possibility of installing a solar voltaic energy system. We hope that members of your faith community will come to learn how all of us might join hands, thereby speaking with a united voice as we seek to create a more just and sustainable world right here in Ocala and throughout Marion County.

The Rev. Hal W. McSwain, First Congregational United Church of Christ.

The Rev. Gary Marshall, Countryside Presbyterian Church.

The Rev. Ed Holloway, Joy Evangelical Lutheran Church.

William L. Rosenow is a retired pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and a member of Joy Lutheran Church on S.R. 200.