Large PV systems will require an internal champion.
- Sudbury United Methodist Church
- House of Worship
- 251 Old Sudbury Road, Sudbury, MA 01776
- Energy need met:
- 75% to 99% of electricity
- Solar PV
- July 2013
- Size of System:
- 47.5 kW
- To generate electricity
- Annual Savings:
- Own or Lease:
- $0-down PPA
- Additional Financial Notes:
- 15 year PPA, zero net cost apart from contract attorney fees. PPA rate is about 50% lower than current utility rate. Assuming utility costs increase 3% a year, the savings is in range $4000 to $6000 per year. After 15 years SUMC will own system at which point the savings increase significantly.
The 47.5 kW 190 panel system, consists of LG all black 250 watt panels. Selection of most attractive panels in LG series was considered important to maintain visually attractive church buildings. Sudbury United Methodist Church is within the Historic District so the PV system required special approval. SUMC consists of several interconnected buildings including sanctuary, community hall, and classrooms; and the panels were placed on all of these. Only half of the sanctuary rooftop could be used to to Historic District restrictions. Each panel has a microinverter to maximize overall system performance. Converted power is fed through conduit in the attic spaces. The system has external shut off capability.
While sustainable clean energy is a natural consequence, there at at least two others that are compelling. The estimated 20 year cost savings is approximately $140,000 (2% NPV @ $110,000). In addition, the system aligns with the SUMC mission to be good stewards and is a visible testament to our neighbors.
The system is very close to being operational. The PPA provider will maintain the system for us for the term of the agreement.
Motivation was primarily to move to clean and sustainable energy. Being able to do so while at the same time saving money made it significantly easier to obtain buy-in from almost all decision making bodies and members.
1) Do it! 2) Take your time researching financial options and vendors. Use as many tools as possible to make the selection process more informed and objective. 3) For house of worship you need to find an internal "champion" who is willing to dedicate significant time/energy. 4) The process: initial consideration, champion identification, vendor interviews and proposals, internal selling, external permits, final internal approvals, final vendor selection, contract negotiation, installation scheduling and issues... will all take time, so set your expectations accordingly. 5) Identify main potential obstacles up front and focus on these from the beginning.
Experience with Installer:
Still not quite installed. So far pretty good. I will update this section and provide details when operational.
If system will require electric system updates by local utility, some part of the process will be beyond your control.
House of Worship|Solar PV
House of Worship|Solar PV