The church of the Unitarian Universalist Congregational Society in Westborough, Mass., offers an ideal spot to put solar panels. “We have a nice big roof. It faces the right way, without too many trees around to shade it,” says Heidi-Lynn Mitchell, a member of the congregation. Church principles, moreover, call on members to be good stewards of the environment. “We’re ripe for this,” Mitchell says.

Until recently, though, financing challenges have posed a barrier to going solar....

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