The Catholic Charities of Central Colorado's Marian House is "flipping the switch" Monday morning on its newly commissioned solar panels, making it one of only five solar-powered soup kitchens in the country.
The Colorado Springs charity, Peak View Solar and Colorado Springs Utilities will commission the newly-installed solar panels at 9 a.m. at Marian House, 14 W. Bijou St.
Peak View Solar, a family owned business, donated a few dozen solar panels for the roof of the soup kitchen to help cut its energy costs.
Several Peak View Solar employees, who had taken meals at the soup kitchen in the past, also donated their time and labor on weekends to install the panels.
As the installation progressed, Nancy and Phil Brodhagen, owners of Peak View Solar, decided to increase the donation to 90 solar panels.
"We want to celebrate what Peak View Solar has done for us because it's so tremendous," said Jill Likness, communications manager for Catholic Charities of Central Colorado.
Marian House provides one meal a day for more than 600 people in need. Some of their older kitchen equipment wasn't energy efficient and was costing costing valuable donation dollars, said Likness. Utilities provided a grant to the charity so that it could purchase more energy-efficient kitchen equipment.
"This all started coming together," Likness said. "It was a beautiful blessing to have all this happen. As we move forward, we're going to look for other ways to be good stewards of our environment and reduce our energy footprint."
The estimated value of the of the panel installation is $75,000. The newer equipment and solar panels will save about $500 a month.
The savings will be put back into Marian House and Hanifen Center's services, a Catholic Charities newsletter said. The center helps provide essential services to residents in need such as vaccines, mental health referrals and work assistance.