Rise In Cremations Opens Unused Cemetery Space To New Solar Projects

A solar farm near All Saints Cemetery in North Haven, Conn., on May 26, 2021. (Joe Amon/Connecticut Public/New England News Collaborative)

Fewer families are choosing burials for deceased loved ones and opting instead for cremation. It’s a funerary trend that is helping to forge a link between the Catholic Church and the solar industry.

If you picture a solar field, what do you see? Probably a large open space. Flat and dry without too many trees and with lots of sunlight.

Now think about a cemetery. Swap out those solar panels for gravestones and the locations suddenly have a lot in common. So why not combine the two?

“We’re not going to be putting solar panels over existing gravestones. That’s not something that’s going to be happening,” said Will Herchel, CEO of Verogy, a Hartford-based solar developer.

Still, he said the solar industry needs to get creative.

“There’s a lot of rooftops that are available and there’s a lot of rooftops that aren’t available,” Herchel said. “The amount of solar and renewable energy … that we have to put out there is so significant that you need to take a look at all comers.”

So Herchel and his team started looking at unused cemetery plots.

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