Do Jeff Newcomb and Joshua Dyer really love graphs and data so much that they would include one in a report to the congregation? And what does this graph have to do with our church? Well, yes! And this is a graph of one good day of solar energy production at our church!
After some delays and wrangling of inspectors, permits, and the energy company, the solar array is finally installed and is up and running. The graphs (and that is the only one I will show you here) show that the system was turned on May 27th at around 12:45 pm. Since then (and I’m writing this on June 13th) we have already collected 4490 kWh of electricity. That’s the equivalent of almost 7000 lbs of CO2 gas emissions.
Let’s provide some back story on how we got here. In 2018 we began looking at the feasibility of making our building more sustainable by adding solar collectors on the roof of our church. In early 2019 we worked with Blue Sky Solar to find an opportunity to make the plan financially possible. The initial cost of the system for us is $0.00. Blue Sky will own the array, and we will be buying power from them at a lower rate than MidAmerican. The savings will be set aside by the Building and Finance Board, and in 6-7 years we will have saved enough money to buy out the rest of the array. Once we own the array, we expect to save $6000 annually. The system has a maximum capacity of 48.8 KW and is estimated to produce about 60,000 KWH annually which will offset about one-third of our electricity costs. We are projected to save 37.7 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, or the equivalent of 87 barrels of oil, per year with this system.
We believe this will serve as a symbol of the values our congregation holds and our commitment to environmental justice. Further we feel it demonstrates we are good stewards of our planet and will make our community a healthier place to live and thrive in our journey with Christ.
B&F continues to work to save energy and money with a current project for LED lighting. LED lighting would further reduce the energy we require beyond the solar array and the money paid to MidAmerican Energy.
The picture below shows the bulk of the system.