This week the Muslim American Society (MAS) of Charlotte is launching a program to install solar panels on the homes of 40 congregants and their mosque in east Charlotte. The program is unique both for the amount of solar that is slated for installation, as well as the financing model, and will make the mosque at MAS of Charlotte the first in North Carolina, and among the first in the country, to get solar panels. This initiative, led by congregants at MAS of Charlotte, comes just weeks after the Islamic Declaration on Climate Change from prominent Islamic scholars in support of binding, international climate change mitigation policy and renewable energy solutions.
“We are thrilled to answer the moral call to care for creation by using resources more wisely,” said Amir Rahman, project manager and member of MAS Charlotte. “At the same time, we are able to save our community members funds typically spent on electricity.”
Once members of MAS CLT purchase an agreed amount of solar panels for installations on their own homes, PowerHome Solar, located in Moorseville, NC, will make an-kind donations of panels for the mosque. It is similar to a Solarize model in that the program relies on the aggregated purchasing power of congregants to drive down the cost of the panels. PowerHome Solar, located in Moorseville, NC, expects to donate 32.24Kw worth of solar panels, once 200Kw (roughly 40 homes) have been sold. The installation will cover roughly 25% of the Mosque’s energy needs and significantly offset the amount of money that the center spends on utilities.
“We are happy to partner with MAS to bring this solar vision to reality. As a local company, we pride ourselves on giving back to the community. This is a win-win for the mosque, its congregants and solar in North Carolina,” said Peter Larsen, of PowerHome Solar. This financing model is innovative in a state that presents many barriers for faith institutions to go solar. North Carolina is one of only four states in the country that forbids the third party sale of electricity-meaning that it is illegal to buy electricity from any entity besides the regulated monopoly utility. This ban makes it difficult for faith institutions and other non-profits without a tax appetite or upfront capital to access renewable energy.
This project launches as part of a growing movement of faith communities that are doing their part to shift demand away from energy sources that are wreaking havoc on the climate and future generations. In June, Pope Francis released his Encyclical on the environment and in a few weeks he will address US Congress, in preparation for the next round of UN climate negotiations in Paris this December.
“There are many verses in the Qur’an explaining how God has made us stewards of the earth. With this solar project, our intent is to create a way for our members to tread lightly on creation, conserve resources, and lead by example,” said Osama Idilbi, president of MAS Charlotte. “We want solar for MAS because we believe there are better ways to get energy-ways that don’t pollute our water or create conflict. We hope this project will serve as a model and create a ripple effect of peaceful solutions.”
As stated in the holy text, the Hadith, and reinforced by the recent Islamic Climate Declaration, the moral duty for creation care is deeply rooted in the Islamic faith tradition: Partake of it gladly, so long as you are a benefactor, not a despoiler; a cultivator, not a destroyer.
For more information contact:
Osama Idilbi 980-721-6623
Ahmer Inam 704-258-6719
Amir Rahman 515 422-3193