Unitarian Universalist Church West

Brookfield, WI
Operational date
June 2008
8-kilowatt solar electric photovoltaic (PV) system
Total project cost
$25,811 from We Energies
$35,000 from Focus on Energy
Estimated savings achieved
$2,173 per year in electricity savings
Energy For Tomorrow participant
100% level
The church installed a PV system primarily because one of the seven principles on which Unitarian Universalism is based is "Stewardship of the Earth." Rev. Suzelle Lynch said, "We hope that by installing a PV system at the church, it can serve as a beacon or role model not only to its members but also to the greater community. We strongly believe that it is time to act and to be more aware of what we are doing to our planet and our future."
The fundraising committee had a marketing plan focused on:
  • The good of the many over the good of the few or the one.
  • The opportunity to leave a legacy.
  • Being a model to community.
  • Having a visual for potential new members.
The church raised project funds by rallying its members to a "buy a brick" approach. They built community among members as they worked to reach a common goal based on the shared value of earth stewardship. In addition, their fundraising strategy emphasized participation over quantity of money given, a short fundraising duration, an educational display with photos, the site assessment report and an actual PV panel that was available for viewing, as well as a chart that showed the progress during the two-month fundraising project. The church continues to educate their congregation about solar systems and energy generation.
"Our hope is that the congregation, now armed with this energy information, will go home and work on their own energy efficiency measures and perhaps even consider a PV system for themselves," said Rev. Lynch. "We also hope that they will share their knowledge with the neighbors, family, and the wider community."