Green Faith Leadership: Sri Lanka Solarizes Temples
In my last article , I shared my introduction to Sri Lanka, its solar industry and JLanka Technologies, a local solar company. The proactive steps this small country is taking to prevent or reduce a future global energy crisis is inspiring. Especially to an American that has recently seen my government retreat substantially on climate protections and is considering withdrawing from the Paris Climate Conference Agreements.
In fact, the Sri Lankan government is encouraging residents to install solar systems on their homes through a national program called, “Soorya Bala Sangramaya.” The 20-year program was established to subsidize 1 million solar plants on residential homes. One of the ambitious goals is to convert 20% of low income households to revenue generating electricity producers.
At a much larger scale, the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) is currently proactively seeking international partners to construct utility sized solar plants throughout the country. At this pace, the relatively small island will soon be substantially fueled by clean renewable energy, in line with the COP21 (Partis Climate Conference) requirements.
Spiritual faith groups around the world are joining together to explore the link between their religious beliefs and protecting the environment. The Sri Lankan government is an exemplary leader in this area. They demonstrated their commitment to renewable energy by partnering with JLanka Technologies to install solar at forty of the most famous and sacred religious sites. The projects are located throughout the country at significant places for each of the predominant faiths of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Islam.
During my recent visit to Sri Lanka, I was able to visit some of these sacred places and never noticed any solar. I found out later the solar was strategically installed on the newer buildings to power the site without disturbing the sacred architecture. Here are a few of the most famous locations:
(Installed solar in 7 of the 8 places, not possible at Lovamahapaya)
Somawathiya Chaitya – Polonnaruwa
Temple of the Tooth, Kandy
Given the fact that Sri Lanka is 70% Buddhist, increasing solar as an eco-friendly energy source makes perfect sense. The Buddhist attitude towards nature has always been one of highest respect and protection. More on ecological Buddhism in the next article.