Solar Houses of Worship: Success Stories

Houses of Worship, much like other non-profit entities, are in a unique situation when it comes to deploying solar. As good stewards for responsible and sustainable living the concept of solar alone aligns with many of their goals. By installing cleaner, less expensive energy they are not only able to make the altruistic choice for sourcing their electricity, but are also able to reallocate the money they’re saving on their energy bills to supporting their other goals and initiatives. However, as non-profit entities they are unable to take advantage of the tax benefits that help make installing solar more affordable for residents and businesses, and often times don’t have the cash flow or capital to invest in purchasing a system outright. So, while the concept of solar is a perfect fit, the logistics can be challenging. The answer? Power Purchase Agreements or “PPA’s”.  Under a PPA agreement they lease their roof space to a solar provider who will install, own, and operate the array while selling the power it generates to the tenants at a rate far below their utility energy costs. This allows houses of worship to go solar with nearly no initial costs, while reaping the benefits of cleaner, less expensive energy.

We’ve worked with a variety of congregations to make solar a reality, and while the faith being practiced within the building changes, the results remain the same. Below are some examples of projects where we’ve worked to install solar for religions institutions big and small. Proof that you can have faith in solar.

Temple Aliyah

Size: 81 kW
Type: Rooftop Array
Location: Needham, MA
Owner: Solect Energy
PowerOptions: Yes
Impact: The solar array consists of 265 photovoltaic (PV) panels and is expected to produce 85,170 kilowatt hours (kwH) of energy annually. The power generated will cover 92 percent of the synagogue’s energy needs. It is projected that Temple Aliyah will save approximately $6,600 in energy expenses in the first year, and nearly $245,000 over the course of 20 years.

 

Temple Beth Elohim

Size: 37 kW
Type: Rooftop Array
Location: Wellesley, MA
Owner: Solect Energy
PowerOptions: Yes
Impact: Solar generation works differently under municipal utilities than it does in an investor-owned territory with utilities like Eversource and National Grid. Wellesley is one of 41 towns in Massachusetts that purchase power from the electric utility owned by the municipality, in this case, the Wellesley Municipal Light Plant (“WMLP”). Massachusetts laws require the utility to be the reseller of power to its customers within the town boundaries. Making the array a reality required a PPA with the WMLP. Under the agreement, the power generated from the array is purchased by the WMLP, who then sells it to the Temple. Now complete, the solar array is a significant addition to the congregation’s efforts toward sustainability.

Bethany Community Church

Size: 157 kW
Type: Rooftop Array
Location: Mendon, MA
Owner: Solect Energy
PowerOptions: No
Impact: Through site leasing and Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) struck with the church, Solect will own the system and provide electricity Bethany at a significantly reduced rate. The facility is expected to see a 40% savings over its current energy costs.

 

Faith Community Church

Size: 180 kW
Type: Rooftop Array
Location: Hopkinton, MA
Owner: Solect Energy
PowerOptions: No
Impact: Through site leasing and Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) struck with the church, Solect will own the system and provide electricity to the 80,000-square foot facility at a significantly reduced rate. The system will satisfy approximately 80% of Faith Community Church’s electrical usage.

 

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

Size: 9 kW
Type: Rooftop Array
Location: Hopkinton, MA
Owner: Solect Energy
PowerOptions: No
Impact: Solect will own the system and provide electricity to St. Paul’s at a significantly reduced rate, allowing the church to invest the savings in their mission programs. The system will satisfy approximately 75% of St. Paul’s electricity usage.