RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A historic church is now a beacon for the future.

Oak City Baptist Church in Raleigh is making a move toward sustainable energy for its current congregation and for congregations to come.

On Friday, church leaders and guests had a moment of prayer for the biggest change made to the more than 150-year-old building.

“It’s a decision that will bless generations to come after us,” pastor Reverend Dr. William Newkirk said.

The decision to put 112 solar panels on the roof was made, largely because of the financial advantage.

“Solar energy saves us almost $5,000 per year,” Newkirk said.

It also would help the church continue their work to help the community and the environment. 

“They’ve got plans in the future to provide a resiliency center, where they’re going to be able to provide power to their community in times of power outage,” Elizabeth Biser, the Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, said.

Church leaders were able to get the solar panels due to the state’s Solar Rebate program.

They received $27,000 to get them started.

“The rebate program makes solar more affordable for nonprofits and churches,” Biser said.

This week, a bi-partisan energy package advanced in the General Assembly, that, combined with the Rebate Program, could help state leaders reach their goal.

It’s a promise made from the pulpit, to help make a difference in North Carolina’s energy sourcing.

“It’s a historic church that’s leading the way,” Biser said. “We would be carbon-neutral by 2050.”