School Sisters of St. Francis plan large-scale solar panel installation

$950,000 project to be completed by late fall

The School Sisters of St. Francis's Sacred Heart facility.

The School Sisters of St. Francis have announced plans to install an array of more than 1,000 solar panels on the rooftop of its retirement and health care home in Milwaukee.

SSSF, an international congregation of Catholic sisters, has contracted for a solar system to be installed on the rooftop of its Sacred Heart building, 1545 S. Layton Blvd.

The School Sisters of St. Francis’s Sacred Heart facility.

The solar project is designed to offset more than 12 percent of the electricity consumed at Sacred Heart and cut annual operational costs, according to a news release. It will be one of the largest institutional solar installations in the city, the release said.

“This solar energy project will enable us to lessen our energy consumption and to invest in our care of the earth,” said Sister Carol Rigali, coordinator of the congregation’s U.S. province leadership team. “It is very much in keeping with the way that our province is living out our congregational direction by joining with others to raise a common voice for the good of all creation.”

SSSF has contracted Arch Electric of Plymouth to install the panels. They are being supplied by Jackson, Mississippi-based Seraphim Solar USA Manufacturing, Inc.

The project is estimated to cost $950,000. Legacy Solar Co-op of Wisconsin, which facilitates community solar projects, will provide tax credits to Fox Point-based General Capital, which will pay $400,000 for the project.

The project is expected to be completed by late fall and have full production capabilities by the end of the year.

Rigali said the panels are expected to save SSSF $1.5 million over a 25-year period, while also benefiting the environment.

Rigali also noted that the project will pay homage to two nuns – Sister Margaret Held from the School Sisters of St. Francis and Sister Paula Merrill from the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth – who were killed in Mississippi in 2016.

“We are very pleased that Seraphim Solar, our panel supplier, is based in Mississippi,” Rigali said. “Our sisters have been ministering with the people of Mississippi for more than 50 years. Our love for the people there is exemplified by Sister Margaret Held, and we feel that this relationship is a small tribute to her lasting legacy.”

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