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June 29, 2017

Catholic Action Center Goes Solar, citing moral, financial benefits

Innovative partnership makes local homeless shelter a national pioneer in use of renewable energy

An innovative partnership between Catholic Action Center, Synergy Home LLC, and Edelen Strategic Ventures will result in the Lexington-based homeless shelter becoming among the first such shelters in the nation to adopt solar as a primary energy source, and the first to do so without public subsidy.  The $75,000 investment will significantly reduce the shelter’s reliance on utility-generated power, saving thousands of dollars annually, resulting in a complete return on investment within 5-7 years.

“Our faith requires us to be good stewards of the earth and our tight-fisted approach to maximizing every dollar in serving the poor made investing in solar power a great decision”, said Ginny Ramsey, the Co-Founder and longtime Director of Catholic Action Center (CAC).  “We want to be an example to others that adopting solar power is both the smart and right thing to do.”

The solar panel system is designed and installed by Synergy Home LLC, a Lexington heating and cooling firm who significantly reduced their fee in support of CAC.  “I’m thrilled to play a role in helping a critical social services agency better serve their mission by harnessing the power of the sun,” said Jamie Clark, CEO of Synergy Home.  “Our partnership with the center is a real world example that solar energy is a real-time option for people who want to enhance both the environment and their bottom line.”

“At a time when many of our leaders seem to be retreating from the promise of renewable energy, this partnership is a powerful leadership moment, demonstrating that committed citizens understand the moral and financial imperative of embracing new energies,” stated Adam Edelen of Edelen Strategic Ventures, whose firm advised CAC on the project and coordinated financing and is active in other renewable energy projects.   

 

The recent announcement of the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Climate Accords was a source of motivation for the leadership of Catholic Action Center.  “The Catholic Church has been strongly supportive of global action on climate change.  We believe that taking this step was an important step in doing our part to inspire others to do the same,” said Ramsey. 

Lexington Bishop John Stowe emphasized the importance of the local initiative, “the diocese takes great pride in the outstanding example of Ginny Ramsey and Catholic Action Center in protecting God’s creation and service to the least among us.”

Mayor Jim Gray added, “Congratulations to Catholic Action Center and to Synergy.  Lexington is such a generous community.  Our corporate citizens are always willing to help.”

The 100 panels generate 30 kilowatts of power; the maximum level that Kentucky law requires utilities to credit the owners of solar installations.  No government credit or subsidy has been utilized in this initiative, and Traditional Bank is providing the financing.

“Regrettably, Kentucky lacks the incentives offered by most states to encourage development of renewable energy but partnerships like this demonstrate that folks aren’t waiting on government to drive innovation, in this case Ginny and Jamie are making it happen,” said Edelen.  “In my business, every day we see an increase in demand for new energy technology, the public—even here in Kentucky—is ready for new solutions,” echoed Clark of Synergy Home LLC.

“We simply could not have made our vision a reality without such terrific partners,” said Ramsey.  “We hope the community will support our efforts by helping us retire the debt early, putting our energy savings to work for the good of this community as quickly as possible.”

Donations can be made online at www.catholicactioncenter.net