Thank you!

Fundraising for our Solar Panel Project successfully reached the goal of $103,500, with broad support from the community! The system of 100 solar panels has been working since November 2019 with all systems/permits inspected and approved, and turned on to bring down our annual energy costs.

About the Solar Energy Project

To offset the growing cost of electricity required to sustain its much-needed community missions, South Congregational Church embarked upon a solar energy project in the summer of 2019. Vivint Solar is installed 100 solar panels on the church roof this summer, at a cost of $103,500. With the help of the community and grants, the church raised funds to pay for the cost of this energy-saving solar project. 

More Than a Church

South Congregational Church is more than a church. Our historical downtown Pittsfield building is a welcoming complex that serves as a meeting house for many groups in our community.

Community organizations such as Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous, Al-Anon, Pittsfield Squares, Music Together, and the Pembury Bridge Club meet regularly in the church’s spaces. South Congregational also serves as an ecumenical gathering space for area faith organizations and missions. 

Food Insecurity

food insecurityOne of South Congregational Church’s primary missions is to address the issue of food insufficiency in the Berkshires, assisting the most vulnerable in our community. Our Community Food Pantry is the largest food pantry distribution in Berkshire County, serving 550 families each week.

The Food Pantry receives 7,000 pounds of food each week, much of which requires storage in our newly updated freezer and walk-in coolers — the most significant consumers of electricity in the building.

We also serve 80–100 hot, nutritious dinners each Wednesday at Saint Joseph’s Kitchen, and we recently began serving breakfast twice weekly. South Church is also home to the annual Thanksgiving Angels community collection and distribution of Thanksgiving meal ingredients to 1,300 local families.

Keeping Things Running

There are expenses associated with South Church’s community missions and services. In addition to manpower (780 volunteer hours per month!), electricity has cost approximately $9,000/year to power the refrigerators and freezers that preserve the food for our Community Food Pantry, Saint Joseph’s Kitchen, and Thanksgiving Angels. The church has decided to offset this cost of electricity by installing solar panels on the roof of the building.

Solar power systems derive clean, pure energy from the sun, combatting greenhouse gas emissions, improving pubic health, and reducing our collective dependence on non-sustainable fossil fuels.

The total cost of the project is $103,500. In addition to fundraising, the church investigated grant opportunities and Massachusetts (SMART) solar tax incentives.

With your help, solar panel installation offset approximately 85% of electricity used by the church.

Why Now?

There is no better time to go ‘green’ at South Church. Electricity prices have been rising steadily, while at the same time, Food Pantry supporters are seeking to increase access to fresh and healthy food which must be refrigerated for viability. 

South Church has already made significant efforts to minimize energy use in the building, installing LED lights, and replacing old freezers & refrigerators with efficient walk-ins. Our kitchen was recently updated for efficiency, installing a new convection oven and stove (which doesn’t use pilot lights). Most church rooms now have newer, insulated windows.

Fundraising Events

We officially kicked off our Solar Energy Project on June 21, 2019 — the summer solstice! — at our June Bread & Roses Coffee House performance, which raised $500! An earlier pancake breakfast raised $620 for the project.

You helped us raise $20,000 by our July deadline, and The Left Coast Fund will match that amount with a generous grant as part of their 50-State Solar Project!

This project has been supported by a grant from the Berkshire Fresh & Healthy Food Fund of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation.


Below is a list of donors to this project as of August 30, 2019 (grants, then individual donors listed chronologically). Thank you for supporting our vital community missions at South Church!

  1. GRANT — Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, Berkshire Fresh & Healthy Food Fund
  2. GRANT — The Left Coast Fund’s 50-State Solar Project
  3. GRANT — Berkshire Bank
  4. Paula Morey — I donated because of the wonderful work that is done at South Church by all for benefit of the poor and for the Rev. Joel’s many contributions to the life of this community. Best of luck in reaching your goal.
  5. Darlene Berryman — One solar panel is $1035 installed. I believe in the future of the work at south church in feeding and providing care for the neediest in our community. I am grateful for all that is done day to day by so many volunteers. Our community is cared for in that old meeting house. Solar is our commitment to continue to do so together!
  6. Anonymous Donor
  7. Ann Tyler — in memory of Judie Grady
  8. Community — South Church Pancake Breakfast
  9. Laura Saldarini — I believe in the great work South Church does and support them going Green(er)!
  10. Debra Morawski — This church is a tremendous blessing to our community! Let’s support this project.
  11. Cindy Haven
  12. Lutitia Tibbetts
  13. Erin & John Murphy — South Church is a historic, central meeting place for ALL in our Berkshire community. Utilizing green, affordable energy is a great plan to keep the church’s community missions alive and strong into the future.
  14. Celeste Morton
  15. Robert Harris
  16. Peter & Mary Rentz
  17. Patricia Pritchard
  18. Erika Haverstick — Anything for Erin Murphy! Praise God for good people!
  19. Michael Nichols — This is such a worthwhile cause, plus would like to honor Sr. Kathryn for her legacy of St. Joseph Kitchen.
  20. Bobby & Dot Stowe
  21. South Church May Mattoon Class
  22. Community — Bread & Roses Coffee House with The Hoping Machine, June 21
  23. Pat Politis
  24. Kerry & Mike Sullivan
  25. Mary Wheat
  26. Ann Clark-Killan
  27. Meribah Haugey
  28. Patricia Woodlock
  29. Andrew Clarke
  30. Dale Prindle
  31. Patrick & Marie Gormalley
  32. A & M Jonas
  33. Christine & Gerard Hurley
  34. Julia Sims — in memory of her mother
  35. Lee Ann & Mark Pettus
  36. Sharon Mercier
  37. Sandy Russell, Central Berkshire Music Togetherin appreciation for use of the building for many years
  38. Arlene & Bernard Flaherty
  39. Ann Lesser & Thom Lipiczky
  40. Margot & Kip Towl
  41. Virginia Akabane
  42. Robert & Carla Skidmore
  43. Rosie Bleyer & Sally Baumer
  44. Stacia Bissell
  45. The Hoping Machine
  46. James Amaral
  47. Nancy deForest
  48. Linda Leskovitz
  49. Joe Johnson — Good on you for doing the right thing!!!
  50. Elaine Lee
  51. Sisters of St. Joseph (Sister Kathryn & Sister Barbara)
  52. Thomas Damrosch
  53. South Church Ladies Benevolent Society
  54. Sandie Smith
  55. Dorothy Walchenback
  56. Jean & John Robertson
  57. Mary Pope Osborne
  58. Liz & Les Clifford
  59. Ginny & Paul Durwin
  60. Pat & Bob Hill
  61. Susan & Art Kaufman
  62. Paula & Scott Haskell
  63. Cheryl Zaccaro
  64. Debbie & John Rentz-Moore — Happy to support South Church’s sustainability as it supports our community!! This gift is in honor of Mary Rentz’s birthday.
  65. Kim Cobb — Thank you so much for hosting a lovely event on climate change on July 25, and for making the leap to low-carbon solar energy!
  66. Chester & Alice Gallup
  67. Kimberly Clark
  68. Judith Quackenbush — in memory of Harriet White
  69. Susan Cook
  70. Gretchen DeBartolo
  71. Polly Grieve
  72. Joanna Peverett
  73. Ruth Campbell
  74. John & Lois Moore
  75. Barbara & Doug Brand
  76. Community — Berkshire Eagle Climate Change Conversation Series
  77. Quentin & Amy Chin
  78. Ruth & Fred Austin
  79. Katherine & John Keenum
  80. Carol Messerschmitt
  81. Ruth Bass
  82. Robert & Kiyoko Mills
  83. Judith Thompson
  84. Bruce & Barbara Munson
  85. Dot Walchenbach — in memory of Roy Walchenbach
  86. Marjorie & John Demary
  87. Barry & Sally Kellogg
  88. Becky & Doug Crane
  89. Anonymous Donor
  90. Patricia Nixon
  91. Katherine Shanahan Kennedy
  92. Marcella Nevin
  93. Ann Brennan — In memory of Karen Allender on her August 8 birthday
  94. Audra & Dick Kinner
  95. William Sexton
  96. Barbara & Ward Johnson
  97. Pam Kueppers
  98. Anonymous Donor
  99. Anonymous Donor
  100. Nancy Easton — This was my home church growing up in the 70s in Pittsfield. So excited to see all that you are doing in the world!
  101. Albert & Susan Easton
  102. Dana & Richard Noble
  103. Fredric Rutberg & Judith Monachina
  104. Margaret Bordeau
  105. Sam Ellsworth
  106. Peter & Judith Giftos
  107. John & Ann Galt
  108. Nancy Steele (c/o Polly Steele) 
  109. Rosamond Rice