Notes and Case Comments


Is Generating Renewable Energy a Religious Use of Property? A Question as Congregations Implement Community Solar Programs

William Bolgiano – “Community solar,” a method for financing local solar energy projects, has recently gained a foothold in many states.  It is a promising method of promoting both renewable energy and distributed generation.  Religious congregations are often uniquely able and motivated to implement these projects to realize the direct benefits of the infrastructure investment and a reduced carbon footprint, as well as the indirect benefits that derive from the concerted action of an ethically motivated community.  In fact, local community solar implementation by established and well regarded institutions, as religious congregations often are, may inspire congregants and other community members to do the same, or to support public policy measures aimed at expanding renewable energy. A potential problem arises when congregations use their tax-exempt property (such as church rooves) to host community solar projects: how does a community solar project fit within the limited uses allowed under the tax-exempt […]