Green Bay Convent Flips Switch On One Of State’s Largest Solar Projects

Panels Will Supply 30 Percent Of Energy Used By Nuns

The Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross celebrate the launch of their solar farm. Photo: Rene Bauer.

The Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross in Green Bay began generating solar energy on Thursday.

The Sisters’ convent, which sits near the eastern shore of Green Bay, is home to 60 women religious. There, the Sister Donna Koch led a group of sisters, contractors, and neighbors in prayer on Thursday with an excerpt from the Prayer of St. Francis, the Canticle of the Creatures. After that, the sisters led a countdown, the switch was flipped and 416 new solar panels were activated.

The solar project is one of Wisconsin’s largest. The panels will provide 30 percent of the convent’s electricity. That will save money, but Sister Rose Jochmann said it also fits perfectly with the community’s mission and that of its patron.

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“St. Francis of Assisi is our patron, the patron of ecology,” said Jochmann. “We’re very concerned about the care of our earth, the care of creation, about sustainability. We built this new convent to be more energy efficient, but we wanted to become more efficient by adding solar.”

Jochmann said the solar panels were paid for by a state Focus on Energy grant and from a timely bequest from a private donor.

The community will plant prairie grass near the panels, and invites people to come see them and learn about solar energy.