An array of solar panels sitting along the busy Okemos Road now bears witness that The Presbyterian Church of Okemos is a committed Earth Care Congregation.

The 100-panel ground-mount array will be formally dedicated at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 16, 2023. A reception will follow in the church at 2258 Bennett Road, Okemos.

The solar panels already have generated 9.5 MWh (megawatt hours) of power since being connected in mid-January, says Pastor Lisa Schrott.

Gathering that energy through solar panels has saved nearly 15,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, Schrott says. One would need to plant 111 trees to eliminate a similar amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

“And,” Schrott says, “that has happened during the gloomy Michigan winter. We are excited to see the impact of the solar panels this summer!”

Installing the solar panels is just one step that The First Presbyterian Church of Okemos has taken since being certified in 2022 as an Earth Care Congregation.

Started in 2010 by the PC(USA), the Earth Care Congregation program is meant to inspire churches to care for God’s earth in a holistic way by integrating environmentally friendly practices and thinking into their worship, education, facilities and outreach. There are 305 churches certified.

Okemos is one of six Presbytery of Lake Michigan churches certified through February 2024. The others include First Presbyterian Church of Kalamazoo, First Presbyterian Church of Richland, Westminster Presbyterian Church in Portage, First Presbyterian Church of Buchanan and First Presbyterian Church of Grand Haven.