St. Mary Monastery in Rock Island goes green, converts all power to solar

Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 7:00 PM CDT
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ROCK ISLAND, Illinois (KWQC) - The Sisters of St. Benedict at the St. Mary Monastery in Rock Island, Illinois have gone solar for all their power needs.

Two separate arrays of more than 1,000 panels will provide power for both the monastery and the Benet House retreat center. The sisters’ switch to renewable energy is several years in the making, beginning when they built the monastery 20 years ago.

“We built this with the idea of keeping it as green as possible,” says Sister Susan Hutchens, Prioress of St. Mary Monastery. “So we did install geothermal heating in the lake. We dug a lake to do it. And we have many different things in the monastery beside the good old ongoing things like recycling.”

The sisters were able to have the arrays installed through the “Illinois Solar for All” program, which makes solar energy affordable for non-profit organizations.

The arrays will account for 98% of the monastery’s electricity, and 80% of the power for the retreat center.

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