Let the Sunshine In

Round Hill Community Church Solar Energy Project FAQs

Why would we install solar panels on the Church, Community House and Parsonage?

• Solar panels convert energy from the sun into electricity for our buildings. This is good for the environment because solar energy is sustainable, renewable, and plentiful.  Solar power substantially reduces greenhouse gas emissions like CO2  as well as reducing water consumption and withdrawal.

• RHCC continues to find ways of becoming a “Green Church.” We have achieved a fair number of criteria to reach this goal and installing solar panels for energy is one of the steepest and most beneficial goals to reach. Our church is one of only a few in the area that will have solar panels installed – a great message to our community!

• Once we pay for the installation, we will save a significant amount of expense for electricity and will also receive incentive payments from Eversource for making the switch to solar. The panels will provide 95% of the electricity we use for the three buildings (the cottage is included in the Community House system).

How will the look of the affected buildings change?

•  The panels will be black frames on black panels, which will blend in better with the black roof. Once the full site evaluation has been done, there will be additional pictures of exact locations of the panels.

• Church: The panels will be installed on the east side (facing the back parking lot) of the Sanctuary roof and either over the Parlor or the Children’s wing, depending on which roof receives better sunlight based on the full site evaluation.

• Community House: The panels will be placed on both sides of the roof for maximum production of energy.

• Parsonage: The panels will be installed on the south side (back) of the building, not visible from the road or the campus.

Where is the power stored?

There is a net metering program in Connecticut so any unused power goes back to the grid and we receive a credit to be applied when we need more power.

What is the life expectancy of the solar panels?
    
Our research indicates that the panels last 30 years and become a bit less efficient as they get older.

Who takes care of repairs if needed?

Problems usually arise in the first few years. The installer pays for connections and combiner box during the first five years. There is a 20-year warranty on the inverter and 25-year warranty on the panels. Everyone we’ve spoken to says there is minimal maintenance/repairs.

What are the liabilities if a tree hits the panels?

Our insurance will cover damage to panels. If the power goes out, our generators will supply power until the power is returned.

Who would install the panels?

After interviewing four to five installers, we have decided we would use ConEdison Solutions, a subsidiary of ConEdison. They are licensed in New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

What are the costs/savings for the solar installation?

• Replacement of the 38-year-old Sanctuary roof:             $ 58,000
(We would have replaced this roof anyway because of the age of it.)

• Cost of 280 380-watt Trina Module solar panels installed:           351,392
  Cost to lease panels from Univest Bank for 8 years:              388,854

• Incentive income for installing panels (over 15 years):        135,537
  Electricity savings (over 25 years):                    475,819

How much will we pay per year until we own the panels?

• For the first seven years of the lease, our payments will be around $26,000, including electricity costs and lease payments less incentive income and electrical savings.

• In year 8, when we buy the equipment back from the bank our payment will be $14,000.

• We will break even in year 16, once we have received all of the incentive income and paid off the lease.     

How can I help with the solar project?

We would love your support of a financial gift to help offset the cost of the new roof and the lease payments. If you would like to consider making a contribution, please contact the Church Office who will put you in touch with our Giving Chairperson.

Once we reach the 25-30 year life of the solar panels what happens?

It is likely that both the panels and the system will need to be replaced since they will be less efficient. This is also generally the life of a roof. We intend to set up a fund that will develop over the years so that when we need to replace any of the panels and/or the system we will be positioned to do so.

When will the installation begin?

It will likely begin in November or December, which will be moving us into the better producing solar months.

Is there any issue getting materials due to supply chain issues?

At this point there is no cause for concern. Once we are under contract, the work by the installer to source the panels will begin.