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Catholic Shelter Looks To The 'Good Lord And His Sun' For Energy

Josh James
Solar panels lean against the wall at Lexington's Catholic Action Center, a day and night homeless shelter on Industry Road, on June 29, 2017.

Lexington’s Catholic Action Center is looking to the skies, in more ways than one. Thursday, the charity shelter on Industry Road shined a light on their latest project: going solar.

The all-volunteer action center was bathed in sunlight for the announcement of its solar initiative. The idea has been simmering for more than a decade, according to shelter director Ginny Ramsey, but it took the cooperation of Synergy Home, Edelen Strategic Ventures, and others to bring it to fruition.

And Ramsey says recent actions out of Washington only strengthened her resolve to see the project through.

"When we talk about withdrawing from the Paris accord, that was just kind of an impetus to go on and say, wait... We don't rely on the government for funding. We don't rely on the government for any of it. Why should it matter? But we can stand and be an example to others," she explains.

Or, more succinctly, Ramsey says: “If the Catholic Action Center can do it, anybody can.”

Organizers say the move puts the center among the first homeless shelters in the country to be solar-powered – and the first to do so without any public subsidies. Ramsey estimates an annual savings of roughly $18,000 to $20,000, paying off the panels within about five years.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.