Solar Panels Now Powering Wisdom House in Litchfield

RICKY CAMPBELL/Register Citizen Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority President Bryan Garcia shakes hands with Wisdom House’s sister Rosemarie Greco as Litchfield Hills Solar partner Ray Furse looks on, following the ribbon-cutting at Wisdom House’s solar energy dedication and celebration Thursday.

LITCHFIELD — On Thursday, Wisdom House became the first commercial property in Litchfield to install solar panels and join the alternative energy revolution.

Wisdom House added 80 solar panels to the roof of its Spruce Brook Barn, which will create enough energy for the entire campus, and reduce its power use by 25 percent. Approximately 15,500 kilowatt hours of clean energy will be produced by the solar panels that will go into the six buildings, nine conference rooms and 73 bedrooms on the campus.

Any power not used by the Wisdom House campus will go back into the grid.

“What we’re doing is bringing attention that spirituality is involved with clean energy and the environment,” said Wisdom House administrator Rosemarie Greco. “It’s a statement that we’re concerned about the environment.”

Funded partially through a $50,500 grant from the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) — formerly the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund — the photovoltaic solar system was designed by West Cornwall-based Litchfield Hills Solar, Santo Domingo Engineering, Inc., and Connecticut Light and Power.

The entire system, costing $94,000, will displace the production of 10.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide, or the equivalent sequestered by 2.3 acres of pine forest.

“Bringing a clean energy alternative — and what clean energy provides — and giving it back to the people is great,” said CEFIA President Bryan Garcia. “It’s such a great thing for the faith community here.

“And I’m excited to be a part of that,” he added.

Litchfield Hills Solar partner Ray Furse explained how much impact the solar panels will make on the Wisdom House campus, calling it a “major investment.”

According to the Web site at www.wisdomhouse.org, "Nestled in the foothills of the Berkshires, Wisdom House Retreat and Conference Center invites you to an experience of peace and tranquility.

"This former center of spiritual development for the community of Catholic sisters, the Daughters of Wisdom, provides an environment conducive to reflection and creative expression..

"Now Wisdom House is the interfaith center which welcomes women and men who value seeking and learning in a contemplative environment. The center is a ministry of the Daughters of Wisdom of the United States Province.

"As a country retreat and conference center, Wisdom House spans 54 acres of meadows, woods and brooks. Indoor and outdoor sanctuary areas and labyrinth encourage meditation, prayer and creative thinking."