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Archive for non profit solar

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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Congregation Beth Shalom of Napa Sees the Light

The Sun Shines on Napa Valley Synagogue

SolarCraft announced the completion of a 35 kW solar panel system at Congregation Beth Shalom in Napa, CA.  Designed and built by SolarCraft, the Napa Synagogue’s photovoltaic system will reduce their carbon footprint while saving thousands in utility costs in the years to come.

SolarCraft introduced a new financing option very favorable for non-profits and Congregation Beth Shalom saw the sound financial returns. Essentially, the financing payments for the solar power are less than paying PG&E each month, allowing many houses of worship and spiritual communities to go solar.  They can dramatically reduce their climate footprint, which is very congruent with their values, as well as saving them money, which allows them to provide the valuable services to the community.

“It was very important to our membership that our new synagogue be as green and sustainable as possible,” said Paul Bloomberg, Congregation Member and Remodel Project Manager.  “We are a non-profit so their favorable pricing package, allowing us tremendous cost savings from solar power will have a profound impact on our finances and allow us to focus our resources on our membership and programming. I was very impressed with their professionalism, excellent communication, and expertise.  I was equally as happy when I selected Solar Craft for my personal residence!”

The solar photovoltaic system is mounted on multiple roof top locations and consists of 108 LG 320-watt solar panels.  The system’s solar panels convert sunlight directly into electricity and is expected to generate approximately 42,508 kilowatt hours of energy annually, offsetting their PG&E bills by 98 % and providing clean energy to the Synagogue.  Furthermore, Sonoma Clean Power’s favorable rate for solar customers, which give credits for energy exported to the grid, will generate additional savings.

The system’s solar electric panels allow the Congregation to generate enough electricity each day to spare the air nearly 67,000 lbs. of harmful greenhouse gases annually.  Over the life of the system, the air pollution saved will be equivalent to eliminating over 2.7 million miles of driving, or planting 4.3 acres of trees.

About Congregation Beth Shalom
For over sixty years, Congregation Beth Shalom of Napa Valley (known as CBS) has been the center of Jewish life in the Napa Valley.  CBS had its beginnings during World War II as “The Napa Jewish Group”, meeting in members’ homes.  Being the only synagogue in Napa County, they continue to provide a rich religious, educational, cultural and social experience for the increasing number of Jews who have settled here resulting in a congregation of over 300.

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SolarCraft Completes Solar Power System for Cloverdale Unified School District

Sonoma County School Reduces Utility Bill and Saves Money

school solar panelsNovato and Sonoma based SolarCraft recently completed the installation of solar panels on at Washington Middle School in the Cloverdale Unified School District (CUSD), Cloverdale, CA.   The new 102 kW photovoltaic system will reduce their utility grid demand while saving the school district thousands in energy fees every year.

“The voters in Cloverdale passed the Measure G bond in 2010, and one of the main reasons the passage occurred is because the district included solar in its plans,” stated CUSD Superintendent Jeremy Decker.  “We are very excited that we have finally installed our solar panels and followed through with our promise to the community.”

The solar photovoltaic panels are ground-mounted at the Northwest corner of the school property, enclosed by fencing for added protection and security. The students have a first-hand opportunity to see how sunlight is converted to electricity and to learn of the importance for us all to explore the possibility of using renewable resources for our energy.

Solar power offers the CUSD an opportunity to help break away from the budget uncertainty surrounding energy, and to secure decades of reliable energy prices while significantly lowering their carbon footprint. The energy savings can go back towards the important work of education. The solar power system for Cloverdale Unified School district marks SolarCraft’s seventh installation for a Northern California school.

“Anytime that we make improvements to our school sites we always have the environment in mind. Installing solar panels at Washington not only allows us to provide power to a school, while lowering our electricity bill, but it shows our students and community that we are committed to being good stewards of the Earth,” says Jeremy Decker

Designed and installed by SolarCraft, the solar system consists of 312 SunPower 327-watt, high efficiency solar panels, spanning over 5,475 square feet and providing 165,881 kWh of clean, renewable electricity annually. In the first year of operation, the solar panels are estimated to generate more than 73 percent of Cloverdale school district’s electricity needs. That’s about $40,860 in savings every year.

CUSD’s solar power system will generate enough electricity to power 24 average homes and will avoid production of almost 6,505,436 lbs. of carbon dioxide emissions per year, which is the equivalent of removing 10.5 million miles of driving over the next 25 years. That’s also comparable to the air pollution removed by 56 acres of trees.

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Sonoma Academy Makes the Switch to Solar

Sonoma County School Goes Green, Saves Money

Solar Panels at Sonoma AcademySonoma Academy has switched-on a 208 kW solar power project on the north edge of its campus. The electricity produced from this system is projected to save over $1,280,000 for the academy over the next 25 years allowing that money to flow directly back into education.

Sonoma Academy’s solar power system is not only about utility bills savings, but an example of the Academy’s intent to create a better, more sustainable future for its students. It will generate enough electricity to power about 50 average homes and will avoid production of 6,266 lbs. of carbon dioxide emissions per year, which is the equivalent of removing nearly 5 million miles of driving over the next 25 years. That’s also comparable to the air pollution removed by 107 acres of trees.

A Local Team: The solar project was developed by SolEd Benefit Corp of San Rafael and investor MacDonald Eco Developments LLC of Sebastopol, and installed by SolarCraft of Novato.

Sonoma Academy did not have to buy the solar equipment, or take on any debt. It instead signed a 25-year Solar Power Purchase Agreement with SolEd Solar Holdings III, LLC to simply buy the clean energy produced and metered by the solar array. Under present Net Energy Metering rules (confirmed by the CA Public Utility Commission this month) 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.

The solar modules are all-black mono-crystalline silicon PV 275-Watt panels manufactured in the U.S. by Suniva, Inc out of Norcross, GA, with a 25-year warranty. The inverters are HiQ Solar 8kW TrueStringTM smart inverters, made in California by HiQ Solar, Inc. of Santa Clara, CA. The hillside installation and racking on earth screws was accomplished by RBI Solar of Ohio. Overall system engineering, permitting, procurement and turnkey construction was managed by SolarCraft of Novato.

SolEd_webSolEd Benefit Corp was formed with the mission to lower the cost of clean energy for schools and public benefit clients. They are using a Solar Power Purchase Agreement document used by SolEd with a four-school District in Petaluma, and several other agencies in the Northbay.

Key terms of the Solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) include:

• No upfront capital cost to Sonoma Academy
• No obligation for the School to operate and maintain the solar facility
• No fixed payments or debt obligations for the School
• No need to reserve for capital replacement or repairs – SolEd does that
• The PPA is simply an agreement to pay for the clean energy delivered to the meter.

The rising cost of energy has profoundly affected our local nonprofits and schools, who have to adapt to working on tighter and tighter budgets without compromising the quality of their important work.

“We have wanted to go solar from the founding of the Academy,” says Derice Hogel, the business manager, “but we needed to preserve capital for growth of the school. This approach was the winning formula—and it looks as though we will have nice operating savings as well. SolEd’s Solar PPA is fair, and beneficial for our program.”

About Sonoma Academy
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. For more information, contact Derice Hogel, Director of Finance & Operations, at 707-636-2462

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SolarCraft Brings Solar Power to Napa Valley Hospice and Adult Day Services

Napa Valley Non-Profit Goes Green

Napa solar, solar panels napa, non-profit solarNovato and Sonoma based SolarCraft announced the completion of a 106.3 kW solar electric panel system at Napa Valley Hospice and Adult Day Services (NVHADS) in Napa, CA. They are now generating their own power from the sun and saving thousands in utility costs each year. More importantly, with that savings they are able to provide more services to the community.

“Making the change to solar power will have a profound, positive impact on our agency for many years to come,” said NVHADS President and CEO Linda Gibson. “We very much appreciate the quality, expertise, and professionalism that SolarCraft brought to this project, which is helping us become energy efficient and more sustainable, as well as able to focus more of our financial resources on patient care.”

The solar photovoltaic system is mounted on the roof of the facility with high-efficiency SunPower solar electric modules. The system converts sunlight directly into electricity and is expected to generate approximately 158,550 kilowatt hours of emissions-free electricity each year, reducing the facility’s PG&E bills by an estimated 95%. Just as important to the nonprofit is the dramatic reduction in greenhouse gas impacts, with the CO2 equivalent of eliminating over 2.6 million miles of driving over the life of the system.

Getting to this point was no small task, with the solar project team – lead by Director of Development, Joanne Sutro, and Board Chair, Steve Silva – carefully determining the project parameters, selecting a vendor, and negotiating the best financing vehicle always with the goal of providing solar in a way that delivered the most value possible to NVHADS. Additionally, the project had considerable design challenges, due to multiple roof planes, shading, and high electricity bills that required using every bit of feasible roof space available. SolarCraft’s Director of Commercial Projects, Robert Gould, recalls it taking several design iterations to “find the right balance between the best financial return, product quality and reliability, and aesthetics. It was no small task on this project, but we felt honored to be chosen and to help our client go solar and forward their mission at the same time”.

In addition to SunPower modules, SolarCraft engineered the system with SolarEdge inverter-optimizers, which provide all the functionality of micro-inverters at lower cost and with lower risk. The SolarEdge power optimizers ensure each and every module is operating at maximum efficiency, regardless of shading, soiling, and/or the orientation of the other modules.

About Napa Valley Hospice and Adult Day Services
Napa Valley Hospice & Adult Day Services, a non-profit organization, provides life-affirming care with remarkable compassion during life’s most challenging transitions. Celebrating their 36th year, the programs have served more than 10,000 families in the Napa Valley over the past decade alone, and provide an important support service within the community. Programs and services include: hospice care, palliative care, grief counseling, adult day health care, Alzheimer’s resource center and caregiver support and respite.

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SolarCraft Completes Solar Power Installation for First Congregational Church of Sonoma

North Bay Church Makes the Switch to Solar

PR-img-FirstCongregationalChurchofSonoma_PSSonoma and Novato-based SolarCraft announced the completion of a 13.2 kW solar panel system at the First Congregation Church of Sonoma in Sonoma, CA. Designed and built by SolarCraft, the North Bay church’s system will reduce their carbon footprint and offset almost 90% of their PG&E usage.

The solar photovoltaic system is roof mounted on the west facing roof of the Church’s Burlingame Hall and consists of 48 LG 275-watt solar panels. The solar panels convert sunlight directly into electricity and is expected to generate approximately 17,969 kilowatt hours of energy annually, providing up to $4,700 in utility savings every year. Furthermore, Sonoma Clean Power’s favorable rate for solar customers, which give credits for energy exported to the grid, will generate additional savings.

SolarCraft presented to the Church new financing options which are very favorable for non-profits and deliver sound financial returns. Essentially, the financing payments for the solar power are less than paying PG&E each month, with no upfront costs. The church is part of Interfaith Power and Light, a nationwide group of 1,800 churches working on climate change, and the first church in the Sonoma Valley to convert to renewable power.

The system’s solar electric panels will spare the air nearly 6 tons of harmful greenhouse gases annually. Over 30 years, the air pollution saved will be equivalent to eliminating over 325,000 miles of driving or planting 6 acres of trees.

About First Congregation Church of Sonoma
Founded in 1869, the First Congregational Church of Sonoma, United Church of Christ is a diverse gathering of folk, many who would describe themselves as progressive Christians. The campus is shared with the Jewish Congregation Shir Shalom, where they live out the phrase on their sign that says “All are welcome.” Their mission is to connect with and serve the community and world. Empowered by the spirit of God and the teachings of Jesus Christ, they seek peace and justice for all. www.sonomaucc.org

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SolarCraft and Enphase Energy Help Liberty School Cut Energy Costs with Solar Power

Sun Shines Bright on Sonoma County School

school solar, solar panels, liberty schoolNovato and Sonoma-based SolarCraft has completed the construction of a 44.7 kW solar electric system at Liberty School in the rolling hills of West Petaluma, CA. The installation of the solar photovoltaic array will reduce the school’s carbon footprint and save thousands of dollars in energy costs for years to come.

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

Enphase Energy, a Petaluma-based worldwide leader in microinverter technology, donated microinverters to the project. Enphase microinverters will optimize system performance by working individually with the system’s 149 LG solar panels to ensure maximum energy production. Additionally, the project managed to secure one of the last California Solar Initiative rebates available before the program expired. The school will receive approximately $24,000 in rebates for energy produced by the project.

The solar electric system will provide about 70 percent of the school’s annual electrical needs, powering the classrooms and administrative offices.

The system’s solar electric panels are expected to generate approximately 66,000 kilowatt hours of clean energy annually. The new solar energy system allows Liberty School to generate enough electricity 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 equivalent to eliminating nearly than 1.7 million miles of driving or the amount roughly 9 acres of trees could remove.

About Liberty School
Liberty School, serving 214 pre-kindergarten through sixth grade students, is nestled in the rural, dairy ranching area of Petaluma, 50 miles north of San Francisco in Sonoma County.  Founded in 1857, Liberty School is the oldest school in continuous operation at the same site, with the same name, in Sonoma County.  More than just a school, Liberty is the hub of the community, where families meet neighbors and build relationships. Many families have been attending Liberty School for generations

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