Right now, it’s a large, empty field.

But by next year, the five-acre plot in Northeast Washington will sprout about 5,000 solar panels, the largest ground array the nation’s capital has seen — a change wrought by local Catholic groups.

Catholic Energies, a nonprofit organization that helps churches across the country switch to solar energy, partnered with the field’s owner, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, to build a system sufficient to keep the lights on in 260 homes for one year.

The power produced will go back into the D.C. grid, earning Catholic Charities enough energy credits to offset the electricity costs of 12 of its properties across the District.

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