The new Corpus Christi solar array is now fully installed and operating. It had a flawless start-up at 9 a.m. this morning — Kudos to both Cedar Creek and Xcel Energy! We will have a blessing and open house on Oct 7th, after the 10:30 a.m. Mass. In the meantime, feel free take a walk behind the church and view our beautiful solar array!
Want to see how it is doing this very minute? Click here to open a web page with real-time information about its power output.
Solar Array quick facts:
- Corpus Christi’s ground-mount solar array is at the SW corner of the property (south of the Giving Garden) and consists of 236 panels producing 330 watts DC each (at peak sunshine), or 77,880 total watts.
- The array is fenced in and pollinator-friendly vegetation will be planted between and around the rows of solar panels so mowing frequency will be greatly reduced.
- The array will produce about 90,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year, which is about 60-70% of CC typical usage.
- CC’s only up-front cost is a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) that requires pre-payment of 42% of the array’s annual output for 20 years ($76,230).
- Apex Efficiency Solutions, CC’s partner in this project, paid for the construction of the array and owns/maintains the array and its energy production. This lowers CC’s overall costs because Apex can collect the Federal 30% tax credit which CC is not eligible to collect as a non-profit.
- The contractor for the array was Cedar Creek Energy.
- CC will pay $0.105/kWh for the array’s output in the first year, which is significantly lower than current electric rates. Xcel’s electricity rates have historically risen 3-5% per year while the array’s electricity cost to CC will rise a pre-determined rate of only 2%/year.
- The array will be an “energy producer” at times of peak cooling demand so it helps Xcel avoid starting up expensive power plants at these peak times. This provides additional savings by increasing CC’s Capacity Credit & Demand Charge Holiday from Xcel.
- When the array is generating more power than CC’s buildings are using, the excess electricity is sent to the grid (electric meter on the building will turn backwards) giving CC full credit for power at Xcel’s regular rate.
- When the buildings use more power than the array is producing, the meter turns forward (CC will be purchasing using power from Xcel the regular rate).
- All excess power that is produced by the array goes to the grid through net metering, so CC gets full credit for all excess kWh produced from the system.
- In the likely event that CC uses more electricity than the system generates over a year, CC will have purchased electricity from Xcel at regular grid rates.
- In the highly unlikely event that CC uses less electricity than the system generates over a year, the excess power that was sent to the grid will become a payment from Xcel to CC (CC is liable to buy all the power produced by the solar array, but if CC doesn’t use it all, the excess is “sold” to Xcel and CC pockets the difference between the lower PPA rate we pay and Xcel’s higher rate).
- At the end of the 20 yr PPA and Lease, CC buys the array from the investor for $1 and takes full ownership. Cash flow should double at that point.
- Savings over 25 years is estimated to be about $250,000 while in 40 years it should be $600,000.