We started in Dec 2015 by hostng a solar for congregations info session with Jason Hawksworth and Faith in Place.
We received bids from Jason Hawksworth and also Straight Up Solar. Both were good, but Hawk Energy had a very compelling PPA (power purchase agreement) model already worked out with Ken and Steve Zika of Attollo philanthropic investors in Peoria. A PPA is a way for the church to purchase the energy produced from a solar array on our roof, but not have to purchase the system or maintain it for the length of the contract. An example is like having a copy machine that you don't own, but agree to pay so much per copy. The trick is that churches don't pay federal tax, but the 30% solar tax credit can be used by investors who own the system for at least 6 years and can get accelerated depreciation. We have also sold our first five years of renewable energy credits on the Illinois SREC auction market. Note, we have been purchasing 100% wind RECs for our electricity already since 2013 and will continue to do so for the next five years.
First Mennonite Church in Urbana 32 panel, 10 kW array
Jason also installed the array at First Mennonite down the street in 2014. Here are some photos of that system and also their online tracking.
"The 9.44kW photovoltaic array was installed in June 2014. It reduces First Mennonite’s greenhouse gas emissions the equivalent of planting 185 trees per year!
Not only does First Mennonite Church have a green building, sustainability is also interwoven as a way of being in life of the church. Two members of the congregation participated in the People’s Climate March last September in New York City with a delegation of other Mennonites. This past winter, Pastor Michael Crosby offered a creation care Sunday school class exploring what the Bible has to say about environmental devastation & ecology."