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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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Marin County’s Emergency Services Building Now Powered by the Sun

SolarCraft Brings Solar Power to County’s New Emergency Operations Facility

Marin County Emergency Facility Goes SolarNovato and Sonoma based SolarCraft announced the completion of a 518.5 kW solar power system at Marin County’s New Emergency Operations Facility in San Rafael, CA. Designed and built by SolarCraft, the County’s new solar panel system will reduce their carbon footprint while saving millions in utility costs in the years to come.

The solar photovoltaic system is roof-mounted, spanning nearly 36,000 square feet. The system is built with 1,700 ReneSola 305-watt solar panels, powering the new facility with clean, renewable energy, while reducing the load on the local utility grid.

The building, known by many as part of the Marin Commons, had its public debut on May 10. It will allow emergency response services to remain operational in the event of a major earthquake. “I am looking forward to celebrating the opening of our state of the art seismic-certified public safety building,” Supervisor Susan Adams said, saying she was “particularly happy” with the building’s solar system.

In keeping with the County of Marin Board of Supervisor’s goal of sustainability, the Marin Emergency Operations Facility Project is on track for Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. The 518.5 kW solar array fulfills the Countywide General Plan goal of 1 Megawatt of PV panels on county facilities ahead of the 2015 self-imposed deadline.

The system’s solar electric panels are expected to generate approximately 764,400 kilowatt hours of energy annually, allowing the County to generate enough electricity each day to power 119 average homes. It will spare the air nearly 220 tons of harmful greenhouse gases annually. Over the next 30 years, the air pollution saved will be equivalent to eliminating almost 12.6 million miles of driving.

About Marin Emergency Operations Facility
The county purchased the building at 1600 Los Gamos Road, San Rafael, for $28 million in 2011 and spent about $50 million for seismic, equipment and technological upgrades as well as interior renovations. After Sheriff-Coroner personnel get settled at the Emergency Operations Facility, the County plans to bring in employees from other departments over the next several years. Extra spaces will be rented to generate funds.

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