Help from above: Campton church gets rooftop solar panels


CAMPTON, Ky. (KT) – A Kentucky church has given new meaning to the phrase “help from above.”

Campton Baptist Church has covered its roof with solar panels to eliminate expensive electricity bills, which will free up more money for spreading the gospel.

SonLight Power Inc., a Christian nonprofit group that typically caters to schools, hospitals and community centers in some of the world’s most impoverished countries, donated about $60,000 worth of the solar panels to the small Appalachian church just off the Mountain Parkway in Wolfe County.

“SonLight is providing ongoing support to help us learn to regulate and manage the system," said Zachary Collier, a member of the church and a local science teacher. "We hope to use this as a way to begin training local students for working in the solar power industry. At the very least, students will learn to appreciate the uses, challenges, and realities of solar technology.”

About 1.4 billion people in the world live without access to basic electricity. That means one in five people can’t refrigerate their food or medicine, that they have to pump water by hand or carry it in buckets, and that they have no easy means to watch television, recharge a cell phone or flip a switch for electrical lighting.

“It will take the combined efforts of the private sector, governments, philanthropists, entrepreneurs, inventors, charitable organizations and committed individuals to attack this problem,” SonLight said. “It will also take the loving power of Jesus.”

Campton Baptist Church traces its beginnings back to before the founding of Wolfe County. The earliest records date back to 1848, which means the church has seen major change over the years, including the stringing of electric transmission lines that brought lights, heating and later air conditioning.

“The original frame building was heated by one or two pot-bellied stoves that can be seen in old photos,” Collier said.

The 80 rooftop solar panels will provide most of the electricity the church will need. Licking Valley Rural Electric Cooperative will send excess electricity generated by the panels out on the grid and give the church financial credit. In all, 58 panels will power the church buildings and 22 will power the parsonage.

Paul Badgett, the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s regional consultant in eastern Kentucky, said the money the church saves on electricity will go into evangelism, because, he said, the congregation is bent on sharing the gospel with the community, state and world.

“Campton is a caring group of believers,” Badgett said. “They enjoy their church fellowship and their opportunities to serve.”


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