St. Christopher Roman Catholic Church in Cortlandt NY was looking for ways to trim its nearly $1,700 monthly electricity bill when its Parish Council recommended that the Church consider adding solar panels to the roof. Several council members had installed solar at their homes and felt that the church could save on its electricity bills and put that savings to better use.
Reverend Dr. George Oonnoonny, who leads the St. Christopher-St. Patrick Parish’s 4,000-members, liked the idea. He also felt it was in keeping with the Church’s mission to protect the environment and reduce the effects on climate change by using more sustainable sources of energy.
“Pope Francis strongly urged the people to protect the environment, and I thought what could I do to protect this environment,” said Reverend Dr. Oonnoonny. “Installing solar at our church is another way of keeping his word in our practical life.”
The new roof-mounted 36kW solar system provides 100% of the electricity for the Church and four other structures on the property, which total 181,000 square feet. With a twenty-year, $150,800 Energize NY PACE loan and a 3.83% interest rate supported by Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECBS), St. Christopher was able to offset 100% of its electricity usage as well as repair the Church’s original, 50+ year old roof structure. After the cost of financing, the estimated average annual savings to the Church resulting from the solar installation is $3600.
This is third project that Energize NY has financed using QECBs which makes energy saving projects even more cost-effective. Last year Westchester County allocated up to $4 million in QECBs available for clean energy upgrades to buildings owned by not-for-profits, like St. Christopher, and to multi-family buildings that provide affordable housing.