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Commercial Solar Case Study, Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose

House of Worship Solar Electric Installation Project Profile

San Jose wanted to reduce electricity costs and build its sustainability practices solar power was the answer.

SolarCraft installed a 271 kW solar power system at their facility in Fremont, CA. The system is expected to offset 65% of the power usage in the new LEED Gold certified St. Joseph Residence and Dominican Center, which opened on the Motherhouse campus in March 2016. The system will save the Sisters over $9,000 per month in electrical costs.

SolarCraft presented financing options favorable for non-profits that so that the Sisters’ solar payments are lower than monthly PG&E bills. The system also dramatically reduces the Sisters’ climate footprint, supports their values, and allows them to apply the savings toward their mission and projects.

Designed and installed by SolarCraft, the system is mounted on multiple, custom engineered solar shade structures, which now act as protective carports for the Sisters’ and visitors’ vehicles. The system consists of 829 high-efficiency SunPower 327-watt solar panels, designed to produce 391,657 kilowatt hours annually.

SolarCraft also donated nine 200- watt solar modules to power a reactivated well, used to irrigate campus landscapes and gardens.

During the life of the system, almost 7,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide generated by campus operations will be eliminated. This impact is equivalent to removing air pollution produced by over 16 million miles of driving over 25 years or the pollutants removed by 261 acres of trees in one year.

System Specifications
System Size 271.1 kW DC
244.9 kW AC
Location Fremont, CA
Solar Panel (829) SunPower 327 W
Inverter (8) SMA 24000TL-US
Mounting System Custom solar support structures/carports
Estimated Annual kWh 391,657
Cumulative Cash Positive 5-6 Years

Customer Profile

The Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose are an international congregation of women religious. They express their Catholic faith through educational, social justice and care of creation ministries, faithfully responding to the needs of the times and serving “the young, the poor and the vulnerable.”

 “As Dominican Sisters we use the term “care of creation” to describe our environmental commitment to attend to the needs of our fragile Mother Earth and planetary home. When we outlined plans to build a residence and community center, solar power generation became an important part of the project, reducing our carbon footprint and lowering operating costs. The SolarCraft team helped us maximize these benefits, providing an affordable and dependable energy solution for our 26-acre Motherhouse home and campus.”

~Sister Gloria Marie Jones Former Congregational Prioress, Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose

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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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