Pope Francis inspires Iowa church to use solar energy
NORWALK, Iowa (AP) -- Church leaders in central Iowa are turning to solar power for their buildings in an effort to aid the environment and save money. The Des Moines Register reports that the St. John the Apostle Catholic Church in Norwalk has more than 200 solar panels which the Rev. John Ludwig says saves them about $2,000 a year. Church member Terry Dvorak founded Red Lion Renewables, a solar development firm. Dvorak gathered investors who contributed about $200,000 to purchase the panels. The company then sells the energy generated to the church at a low rate. Bishop Robert Pates says Pope Francis' campaign combating climate change inspired the move toward solar. Leaders of the Catholic Diocese of Des Moines say the church is just the first in a larger scale solar energy initiative.