Watts-Willowbrook Church of Christ, affectionately known as “The Brook,” has taken a significant step towards sustainability and community resilience by adopting solar energy. Located at in Compton, this church is now a beacon of clean energy education and resilience, aiming to provide critical services during electrical outages, heatwaves, or unhealthy air quality days. The church’s new 12-kW rooftop solar installation, along with an upcoming battery storage system, was celebrated on June 29.

The Brook’s decision to go solar is not only about alleviating financial strains but also about building community resilience and advocating for local clean energy projects. This move is set to save the church $184,033 on electricity costs over the next 20 years, thanks to provisions available through the Inflation Reduction Act. These provisions allow tax-exempt organizations to receive substantial cash back on the cost of solar systems, making clean energy more accessible and affordable.

A Community Celebration

The commissioning of the solar installation was marked by a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a speaking program that included remarks from Compton Mayor Emma Sharif and other notable figures. Mayor Sharif highlighted the significance of this project for the community and the future of Compton. Leticia Vasquez Wilson, Central Basin Water Board Director, emphasized that the installation represents hope, resilience, and progress for the community.

Jacquelyn Badejo, chair of the Climate Emergency Mobilization Commission, City of Los Angeles, noted the importance of educating community members about the benefits of clean energy. “The Brook church uniquely serves three neighboring communities, making it the perfect home base to spread awareness and accelerate local clean energy adoption,” she said.

Environmental and Financial Benefits

The environmental impact of The Brook’s solar installation is profound. Over the system’s lifetime, it will avoid emitting 646,378 lbs of CO2, equivalent to the carbon sequestered by 350 acres of trees every year. This contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions aligns with broader efforts to combat climate change and promote sustainability.

Financially, the church’s solar system is a game-changer. The direct pay provision from the Inflation Reduction Act and a grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation have enabled The Brook to go solar with zero upfront costs, allowing them to start saving on energy bills from day one. Ronald Newman, senior advisor for IRA Implementation, U.S. Department of the Treasury, praised the project, stating that it exemplifies how community-based institutions can benefit from clean energy upgrades that reduce costs and improve quality of life.

Inspiring Community Action

The leadership of The Brook in adopting solar energy is expected to inspire local residents and other institutions to follow suit. Andreas Karelas, executive director of RE-volv, highlighted data suggesting that when a nonprofit or house of worship goes solar, up to 80 residences in the area are likely to adopt solar energy within the next five years.

The resiliency workshop held during the celebration provided resources and support for residents, churches, and nonprofits interested in going solar. The workshop also discussed customizing emergency services, such as air filtration on unhealthy air quality days and air conditioning during heatwaves, further emphasizing the community benefits of the solar installation.

A Broader Initiative

John Moon, senior vice president and sustainability philanthropy lead for Wells Fargo, expressed satisfaction with the project’s impact, stating that accessing the direct pay provision from the IRA is a game-changer for nonprofits and community organizations seeking affordable clean energy solutions and community resilience.


The Watts-Willowbrook Church of Christ’s move to solar energy is a powerful example of how faith-based communities can lead the way in sustainability and resilience. By adopting solar power, The Brook is not only reducing its carbon footprint and saving on energy costs but also serving as a model for the broader community.

This project underscores the importance of going solar, particularly in areas like California, where high electricity rates and abundant sunshine make solar power an attractive and practical option for achieving long-term sustainability and resilience.

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