From cutting costs in utility bills to being a prime steward of the land, it is no secret to why solar is gaining popularity. But for churches, going solar can prove to be much more valuable. Like all other non-profits, churches are all too familiar with tight budgets and the ineligibility of solar tax incentives, which is why they must get creative.
With innovative solar financing options such as a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), churches will be able to afford solar without having to pay a hefty upfront fee. This opportunity will allow them to take advantage of tax benefits that would otherwise be off limits. Without the option of a PPA, churches would be expected to pay for the solar system upfront, and without access to tax benefits; they would end up paying more for the system.
Many churches like St Paul’s Episcopal Church, in Walnut Creek, are paving the way, and showcasing the success of a PPA. In the PPA model, investors in the congregation band together to fund the solar project, and in turn are able to make use of available tax incentives. This allows the church to receive solar energy at a fixed rate competitive with that of PG&E. As a result, the money that once went towards utility bills is now spent on paying back the investors.
Many churches are now choosing to follow in St. Paul’s footsteps, and realize the financial and environmental benefits that come from going solar. The Concord Methodist Church is one such church. Partnering with GreenZu, a San Francisco based solar company, the Concord Methodist Church will be able to reduce energy costs and is predicted to save over $74,000 throughout the contract period of 20 years.
Power Purchase Agreements have become a common model for churches that lack the upfront capital for a solar system. With the help of dedicated congregation members, churches will be transformed with reduced energy costs and lower greenhouse gas emissions. With this, they can focus on providing meaningful works that enhance the community
Article by Alyssa Fong