Nuns from the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross in Green Bay explore their new solar panels, April 22, 2014. (WLUK/Gabrielle Mays)
GREEN BAY - The Sisters of Saint Francis of the Holy Cross are going green with the help of the sun.The solar power project started about a year ago."It includes 416 panels and it will take up about 700 feet if we put them end to end," said Sister Rose Jochmann.The sisters have made it their mission to care for the environment."We know in our culture and our society today every decision we make affects the whole globethe whole world and so, as we look at that we want to care for creation in a very responsible way," said Sister Donna Koch.The sisters say the project will save them $19,000 a year on their utility bill. The money came from a grant and donations."We're going to put in about, under $300,000. In 10 years we expect to have paid back what we're putting into the project," Jochmann said.The solar panels sit right behind the convent. For many of the sisters, Tuesday was the first time they got an up close look.Jesse Michalski is the project manager and for the past couple of weeks he's been working to make sure everything goes according to plan."This is the largest solar array in the city of Green Bay. This is enough energy to power up 12 homes over the course of a year," said Michalski.The project isn't just about saving money. A path will be built around the solar panels so the area can be used to educate others."They can come to see how solar energy is generated as well as learn about our efforts for sustainability," Jochmann said.Jochmann says since sunlight is free, it's the perfect renewable energy source for all 30 sisters living at the convent.The project will be up and running by the end of May.
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