In this darkest part of the year, we are shining a spotlight on solar power! In January there will be solar information nights in the East Bay and in Marin County and we look forward to sharing an updated solar resource guide with our member congregations.
The Oakland congregation of St. John’s Episcopal Church installed solar on their building earlier this year. The process began about 6 years ago with a carbon footprint analysis. The Ecology Group instituted a revised educational effort around recycling, improved kitchen water heating efficiency, bought and used “green” products, and did all of the other easy fixes possible to lower their carbon footprint. They also decided that in order to have a bigger impact, they would look into solar as a clean energy source. A ”Greening Fund” was started asking parishioners to get involved by supporting the future purchase of panels by small pledge efforts during educational/social “fun” raising events.
Solar Richmond, a local non-profit, helped with mapping out the process and walked them through the “Request for Proposal” process with solar installation companies. Sun Light & Power was chosen after a competitive bid process and at the request of the congregation, the installation utilized Solar Richmond’s Green Job training program interns who gained valuable experience.
Because the church had “seed” money from the “Greening Fund” they were able to internally finance the balance using a variety of small, low interest loans from members of the church. The loans will be totally paid off in five years and it looks as though the system will totally pay for itself in six to seven years. With a projected operational life of thirty years the congregation feels this solar installation to be very worthwhile.
Congratulations St. Johns! Thanks for being a shining leader on environmental stewardship in the community.