On June 18, 2015, the Vatican released Laudato Si (Be Praised): On Care for Our Common Home, a comprehensive and remarkably plain-spoken summary of the environmental and social ills facing humanity. According to the encyclical, “There is an urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced, for example, avoiding fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy.”
Protestant, Jewish, Buddhist and Muslim leaders have praised Pope Francis’s call for strong action to address climate change. The pope’s pastoral letter calls on all people of conscience to take up climate change as a moral imperative.
As the Reverend Sally Bingham, president and founder of Interfaith Power and Light, put it, “The impact of the Pope’s message is clear: If you are person of faith, you have a responsibility to address climate change. It’s as simple as that.”
Corpus Christi’s call to action was to form a group of parishioners with experience in renewable energy and have them look at a plan for our property.
The team looked at our space and energy use. They then looked at church and other commercial solar installations in the area, attended renewable energy society meetings and governmental renewable energy conferences. In the fall of 2016, competitive bids were gathered from multiple commercial solar firms. In 2017, Apex Efficiency Solutions was selected to manage our solar array project. Construction of the array will take place this spring. The array will have 180 individual solar panels generating 77kW DC (60kW AC) at peak. The panels will be installed on ground-mounted racks within a fenced southwest corner of Corpus Christi’s property (South of the Giving Garden). Pollinator-friendly wildflowers will be planted under and between the panels to promote local pollinator health and greatly reduce mowing. Wildflower seeds have been donated by the General Mills Honey Nut Cheerios Marketing Team as part of their #BRINGBACKTHEBEES program. Parishioners can help plant the seeds this fall!
Here is additional information about Corpus Christi’s solar array project:
- In order to take advantage of substantial tax credits which are not available to non-profits, the solar array will be financed (owned) and maintained by Apex for the first 20 years. Corpus Christi is leasing the land for the array’s footprint to Apex.
- Corpus Christi enters into a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Apex and agrees to an up-front prepayment of 42% of the array’s annual electricity output for 20 years, or $76,000.
- The PPA rate Corpus Christi will be paying is a low $0.105/kWh for the array’s output for 20 years. This rate is about 30% lower than our current electricity rate.
- Corpus Christi’s PPA rate will rise 2%/yr, but historical electricity rates have risen 3%/yr and are projected to continue at this pace or higher.
- At the end of the 20 yr PPA and lease, Corpus Christi can buy the array from Apex for $1 and take full ownership, including all the electricity being generated.
- Projected electricity cost saving for Corpus Christi over time:
- 5 Yrs: $30,000
- 10 Yrs: $60,000
- 20 Yrs: $140,000 (Corpus Christi takes ownership)
- 30 Yrs: $340,000
- 40 Yrs: $600,000
If you have any questions about this project, please contact Tom Valois at firstname.lastname@example.org