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Archive for Case Study, Non-profit

Commercial Solar Case Study, Spirit Rock Meditation Center

Non-Profit Solar Electric Installation Project Profile

Sustainability and the environment are top priorities for Spirit Rock. The decision to install solar energy was driven by environmental benefits, and as a non-profit, stabilizing operating expenses and locking in energy prices were major drivers as well.

Spirit Rock partnered with SolarCraft to install a 116 kW solar electric system. This ground mounted system consists of (335) Sunpower 345- watt high efficiency solar modules, providing renewable energy power to the administrative offices, guest facilities and the meditation hall, reducing Spirit Rock’s utility costs by over 90%.

Through the use of special non-profit friendly financing through SolarCraft, which allows clients to benefit from commercial incentives, they pay less for solar power than they would to PG&E. In financial terms, the system generates positive cash flow immediately. Furthermore, Spirit Rock has the option to pay off the system after year 5 to own it outright.

The system’s solar electric panels are expected to generate approximately 190,700 kilowatt hours of clean energy annually. The system allows Spirit Rock to generate enough electricity each day to power over 27 average homes. The amount of carbon offset by the PV array is equivalent to removing 50 tons of harmful greenhouse gases annually. Over the next 30 years, the air pollution saved will be equivalent to eliminating almost 3 million miles of driving or planting 10 acres of trees.

System Specifications
System Size 116 kW DC
105 kW AC
Location Woodacre, CA
Solar Panel (335) SunPower 335 W
Inverter (3) Power One Trio 27.6
Mounting System All metal with concrete piers
Estimated Annual kWh 190,700
Cumulative Cash Positive 5–6 Years

Customer Profile

Nestled in the hills of West Marin County, Spirit Rock Meditation Center is dedicated to the teachings of the Buddha as presented in the vipassana tradition. The practice of mindful awareness, called Insight Meditation, is at the heart of all the activities at Spirit Rock. It was founded in 1987 as Insight Meditation West and is visited by an estimated 40,000 people a year. Spirit Rock hosts a year-round schedule of residential retreats, daylong retreats/workshops, benefit workshops, and weekly classes.

 “‘Move through the world with care,’ taught the Buddha. Spirit Rock is a generator of metta, sending loving kindness across the world. Now our beautiful sunlight generates clean energy, a new form of care, and a reminder to us all to lovingly tend the earth.”
~Jack Kornfield Co-founder, Spirit Rock Meditation Center

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Commercial Solar Case Study, Sonoma Academy

School Solar Electric Installation Project Profile

sonoma solar panels, sonoma acadmey

Rising energy costs have profoundly affected nonprofits and schools, which have to adapt to working on tighter budgets without compromising the quality of their important work. By installing a 207 kW solar electric system, Sonoma Academy will save more than $1,280,000 over the next 25 years allowing that money to flow directly back into education.

Sonoma Academy’s solar power system is an example of their intent to create a sustainable future for their students. It will generate enough electricity to power about 50 average homes and avoid production of 6,266 lbs. of carbon dioxide emissions per year — equivalent to removing nearly 5 million miles of driving over the next 25 years and comparable to the air pollution removed by 107 acres of trees.

Designed and engineered by SolarCraft, the project was developed by SolEd Benefit Corp of San Rafael, which was formed with the mission to lower the cost of clean energy for schools and public benefit clients.

“We have wanted to go solar from the founding of the Academy, but we needed to preserve capital for growth of the school,” says Derice Hogel, the Director of Finance & Operations.  “This approach was the winning formula – and it looks as though we will have a nice operating savings as well.”

Rather than buy the equipment or take on debt, Sonoma Academy signed a 25-year Solar Power Purchase Agreement with SolEd Solar Holdings III, LLC to buy the clean energy produced and metered by the solar array. Under present Net Energy Metering rules the school’s meter will be credited at established retail values of energy during the bright summer months and on weekends while it uses little energy, and pays a modest cost (eventually declining) for energy delivered.

System Specifications
System Size 207.1 kW DC
180.4 kW AC
Location Santa Rosa, CA
Solar Panel (753) Suniva 275 W
Inverter (21) HiQ Solar 480w
Mounting System RBI ground mount with earth screws
Estimated Annual kWh 322,590
Cumulative Cash Positive 5–6 Years

Customer Profile
Sonoma Academy is the only independent, college preparatory high school in Sonoma County. On its beautiful 34-acre campus nestled at the base of picturesque Taylor Mountain in South Santa Rosa, Sonoma Academy students are able to explore their interests and passions in a challenging environment that prepares them for college and life beyond. The Academy has undertaken a program of environmental excellence, aiming for a zero net-energy standard for its new facilities.

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Commercial Solar Case Study, Liberty School

School Solar Electric Installation Project Profile

petaluma solar panels, solar for schoolsLiberty School is generating its own electricity from sunlight thanks to its 44.7 kilowatt solar installation. Located in West Petaluma, CA, the school’s solar photovoltaic array will reduce their carbon footprint and save thousands of dollars in energy costs for years to come.

The system spans over 2,600 square feet on multiple rooftops, specifically designed by local architect Dan Hardin to accommodate solar.

Enphase Energy microinverters, donated by the Petaluma-based worldwide leader in microinverter technology, will work individually with the system’s 149 LG solar panels to ensure maximum energy production. The school received approximately $24,000 in rebates — one of the last California Solar Initiative rebates available before the program expired.

The system will power classrooms and administrative offices, providing about 70 percent of the school’s annual electrical needs by generating approximately 66,000 kilowatt hours of clean energy annually — enough each day to power over 20 average homes. The amount of carbon offset by the PV array is equivalent to removing 29 tons of harmful greenhouse gases annually. Over the next 30 years, the air pollution saved will be comparable to eliminating nearly 1.7 million miles of driving or the amount roughly 9 acres of trees could remove.

 

solar panels, petaluma, solar for schools

System Specifications
System Size 44.7 kW DC
39.7 kW AC
Location Petaluma, CA
Solar Panel (149) LG 300 W
Inverter (149) Enphase Energy M250
Mounting System SnapNRack
Estimated Annual kWh 66,000
Cumulative Cash Positive 5–6 Years

Customer Profile

Liberty School, nestled in the rural, dairy ranching area of Petaluma, 50 miles north of San Francisco in Sonoma County, serves pre-k through sixth grade students. Founded in 1857, Liberty School is the oldest school in continuous operation at the same site, with the same name, in Sonoma County. Liberty is the community hub where families meet and build relationships. Many families have been attending Liberty School for generations.

“We are very excited to finish our project with SolarCraft and Enphase Energy and begin saving our local community thousands of dollars that can be better used to educate the students of the Liberty Valley.”
~Christopher Rafanelli, Superintendent/Principal Liberty School

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Commercial Solar Case Study, Congregation Shomrei Torah

House of Worship Solar Electric Installation Project Profile

Designed and built by SolarCraft, Congregation Shomrei TorahThe Congregation wanted to go solar for a few years for all the right reasons, and a new financing option introduced by SolarCraft that is very favorable to non-profits gave them a financial incentive as well. Essentially, the financing payments for the solar power are less than paying PG&E each month.

Designed and built by SolarCraft, the North Bay Synagogue’s system will reduce their carbon footprint while saving thousands in utility costs in the years to come.

The solar photovoltaic system is ground mounted on a hillside below the building and consists of 104 SunPower high-efficiency solar panels spanning nearly 2,180 square feet. The system’s solar panels convert sunlight directly into electricity and is expected to generate approximately 56,100 kilowatt hours of energy annually, reducing their PG&E bills by 90% and providing clean energy to the Synagogue.

The system’s solar electric panels allow the Congregation to generate enough electricity each day to power 17 average homes. It will spare the air nearly 25 tons of harmful greenhouse gases annually. Over 30 years, the air pollution saved will be equivalent to eliminating over 1.4 million miles of driving.

 

cs-img-shomrei-torah2

System Specifications
System Size 34 kW DC
30 kW AC
Location Santa Rosa, CA
Solar Panel (104) SunPower 327 W
Inverter (1) Power One 27.6 kW
Mounting System Custom Ground Mount with concrete piers
Estimated Annual kWh 56,100
Cumulative Cash Positive 5–6 Years

Customer Profile

Donald Hess established his first Napa Valley vineyard on Mount Veeder in 1978, and from the beginning, under his stewardship, The Hess Collection has been a leader in sustainability. Certified Sustainable by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance and for both winery and vineyards by Napa Green, The Hess Collection is well known for combining twin passions under one roof at its historic home on Mount Veeder, where both The Hess Collection Winery and the world renowned Hess Collection Art Museum welcome visitors.

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Commercial Solar Case Study, Sweetwater Spectrum

Non-profit Solar Electric Installation Project Profile

 An innovative residential community in Sonoma, CA geared specifically for adults with autism, Sweetwater Spectrum was developed with environmental stewardship in mind. To help facilitate and promote energy efficiency, a 51 kW solarSonoma solar power Sweetwater Spectrum electric and solar pool heating system was installed by SolarCraft to provide the community with clean, sustainable energy.

 SolarCraft offers unique financing options for non-profits, to eliminate high upfront costs. The finance payments are typically less than paying PG&E, so the projects save money immediately.

The solar electric system is roof-mounted on four residential buildings and the community center. It consists of high-efficiency solar panels spanning a total of 3,600 square feet. A separate solar heating system greatly reduces the cost of heating the pool.

Designed to LEED Gold standards, in addition to solar power the homes and community structures at Sweetwater Spectrum were constructed using durable, low-VOC building materials and finishes, solar water heating and radiant cooling/heating systems. In fact, the community is a pilot project for the PG&E Net Zero Energy Pilot Program.

The system’s solar electric panels are expected to generate approximately 73,000 kilowatt hours of energy annually. The new solar energy system allows Sweetwater Spectrum to generate enough electricity each day to power over 12 average homes. It will spare the air nearly 20 tons of harmful greenhouse gases annually. Over the next 30 years, the air pollution saved will be equivalent to eliminating more than a million miles of driving.Sweetwater Solar Pool Panels

System Specifications
System Size 51.0 kW DC
44.3 kW AC
Location Sonoma, CA
Solar Panel (204) SunTech 250 W
Inverter (15) SMA SB4000US
Mounting System SnapNrack / SNR Seam Clamp
Estimated Annual kWh 73,000
Cumulative Cash Positive 5–6 Years

Customer Profile

Sweetwater Spectrum, in the heart of downtown Sonoma, CA, is the first residential community in the nation to be geared specifically for autistic adults, providing an innovative, supportive residential community that will challenge each individual to reach his or her highest potential.

Communal features include a therapy pool and hot tub, greenhouse, and a 2,300-square-foot activity center complete with workout equipment, art and music room, and a teaching kitchen. The concept reinforces Sweetwater Spectrum’s mission of helping adults with autism live a “life with purpose”, both at home and in their communities.

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Commercial Solar Case Study, Sunny Hills

Non-profit Solar Electric Installation Project Profile

solar panels, Sunny Hills, San AnselmoSunny Hills Services in San Anselmo, CA was looking for a sustainable solution to gain control of their rising energy costs. Solar was the right fit. The photovoltaic system will provide clean, green energy and enormous savings for its long-standing facility.

The 53.6 kW solar electric system is roof-mounted on the gymnasium and administration buildings, spanning over 3,963 square feet, helping to shade and cool the building.

Each of the 224 solar panels is controlled by a microinverter, manufactured by Enphase Energy of Petaluma, CA. Microinverters are small, compact units directly attached to each solar panel to convert power independently at the panel, maximizing energy production and reducing impacts from shading. Microinverters increase system efficiency by 10–12%.

The system’s solar panels convert sunlight directly into electricity and is expected to generate approximately 90,000 kilowatt hours of energy annually, providing sustainable energy to their operations for decades to come.

The new solar energy system allows Sunny Hills to generate enough electricity each day to power over 27 average homes. It will spare the air nearly 40 tons of harmful greenhouse gases annually. Over the next 30 years, the air pollution saved will be equivalent to eliminating nearly 2.7 million miles of driving.

solar panels, Sunny Hills, San Anselmo

System Specifications
System Size 53.6 kW DC
46.1 kW AC
Location San Anselmo, CA
Solar Panel (32) Centrosolar 235 W
(192) Centrosolar 240 W
Inverter (224) Enphase Energy M215
Mounting System SnapNrack / Custom
Estimated Annual kWh 90,000
Cumulative Cash Positive 5–6 Years

Customer Profile

Sunny Hills Services is a private, non-profit organization serving vulnerable youth and their families. What was originally founded in 1895 as an orphanage and farm in San Anselmo, California is now a regional child welfare organization dedicated to protecting, serving, nurturing and healing at-risk children and adolescents. Today, the agency offers a broad spectrum of residential, educational, mental health, and community based services to hundreds of vulnerable children each year.

“We truly appreciate the effort that SolarCraft put into finding lease financing that is cost-neutral over the seven-year term of the lease—a key criteria for us. Being able to implement this green energy solution means a lot to us, and in addition, it will generate financial savings for the Agency after the initial lease term is up.”
~ Mary Denton, CEO, Sunny Hills Services

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Commercial Solar Case Study, Hartle Court Permanent Supportive Housing

Non-profit Solar Electric Installation Project Profile

roof mount solar panels, Napa

The Hartle Court Permanent Supportive Housing facility in Napa, CA was designed with energy efficiency in mind. As part of that plan, SolarCraft both designed and installed a 23 kW solar electric system. The recently completed housing facility is now powered by clean solar energy, providing significant savings to the facility.

The Hartle Court Facility, developed by the Gasser Foundation and operated by The Progress Foundation, is targeting LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver. This would be the Napa Valley’s first LEED Certified Multi-Family Residential Development.

The project consists of 98 Sharp 235-watt solar panels spanning 1,719 square feet of roof tops on multiple buildings. The system is expected to generate approximately 31,540 kilowatt hours of energy annually, providing sustainable and price stable energy to the facility for years to come.

Each of the 98 solar modules is controlled by a micro-inverter, manufactured by Enphase Energy of Petaluma, CA. Unlike more conventional solar electric systems, the micro-inverters greatly reduce impacts of shade from nearby trees or structures, and generate about 7% more power than conventional inverters. Overall system efficiency is increased by 10–12%. In addition to resolving shade issues, the Enphase inverters allowed for the flexibility of solar panel awnings over several windows on the facility.

The new solar energy system allows the Hartle Court Facility to generate enough electricity each day to power over 11 average homes. It will spare the air nearly 17 tons of harmful greenhouse gases annually. Over the next 30 years, the air pollution saved will be equivalent to eliminating over 1 million miles of driving.

The monitoring display for the system is located in the front office and is available for public viewing.

Solar awning, Hartle Court, Napa

System Specifications
System Size 23 kW DC
20 kW AC
Location Napa, CA
Solar Panel (98) Sharp 235 watt
Inverter (98) Enphase Energy M215
Mounting System ProSolar with S-5! Clamps
Estimated Annual kWh 31,540
Cumulative Cash Positive 5–6 Years

Customer Profile

The Hartle Court facility includes 18 one-bedroom and six two-bedroom apartments. The two-bedroom apartments will serve “transitional age youth,” typically young adults leaving foster care. The one-bedroom apartments will be for adults served by Progress Foundation, a non-profit agency dedicated to providing community-based residential treatment and supported housing programs to people with mental disabilities.

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Commercial Solar Case Study, Scottish Rite

Assembly Building Solar Electric Installation Project Profile

solar power, Santa RosaSolarCraft both designed and built this 31 kW solar electric system for the Scottish Rite Masonic Center in Santa Rosa, providing unlimited clean energy to the facility.

SolarCraft installed the OnEnergy™ system by Sharp. The solar electric systems utilizes (168) Sharp 187 kilowatts solar panels. The OnEnergy system uses a unique racking design that streamlines installation and improves the aesthetics of the system. The ultra-low profile design is highly visible from the road and very pleasing to the eye.

The Scottish Rite’s new system is expected to generate 44,950 kilowatt hours annually, and spans 2,677 square feet, providing the majority of the electric needs for the Santa Rosa facility.

The solar electric system will enable the Scottish Rite facility to generate enough clean electricity each day to power 13 average homes. The new system will spare the air nearly 23 tons of harmful greenhouse gases annually, equivalent to the air filtering of 5 acres of trees. Over the next 30 years, the air pollution saved will be comparable to driving over 1.6 million miles. A sound investment, the system will pay for itself in approximately 6 years.

solar electric, Sonoma County

System Specifications
System Size 31 kW DC
26 kW AC
Location Santa Rosa, CA
Solar Panel (168) Sharp 187W
Inverter (4) SMA SB 7000US
Mounting System Sharp SRS
Estimated Annual kWh 44,949
Cumulative Cash Positive 6 Years

Customer Profile
The Scottish Rite is a branch of Freemasonry designed to supplement and amplify the philosophical teachings of the first three degrees. The Scottish Rite claims to build upon the ethical teachings and philosophy of Blue Lodge Masonry through dramatic presentation. The Scottish Rite is sometimes called the “University of Freemasonry” because it uses extensive allegory and drama in its Degrees to explore the philosophy, history, ethics and ultimate truths that guide Freemasons’ lives.

For over ten years, the Scottish Rite Masons, Northern Jurisdiction, have been national leaders in the effort to help children and their families overcome the painful obstacles of dyslexia.

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