Archdiocese of New York launches solar pilot program on five parishes

The Energy Department of the Archdiocese of New York along with five parishes joined Con Edison Solutions, one of America’s leading energy services companies, and students from Blessed Sacrament School to launch a renewable energy pilot program. As part of the initiative, five parishes, including Blessed Sacrament, St. Clare, and St. Patrick on Staten Island and St. Ann and St. Anthony in Yonkers have installed rooftop solar arrays which will collectively generate approximately 700,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity through 1,717 solar panels. Photos from the event can be found here.

“Preventing further environmental degradation has become a top priority for the Catholic Church under Pope Francis. As such, the Archdiocese of New York is very pleased to partner with Con Edison Solutions to launch a solar pilot program that will allow five of our parishes to benefit from clean energy,” said Bishop John O’Hara, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of New York. “This initiative epitomizes the Pontiff’s call for sustainable development and thus serves as a great model for our parishioners and our students.”

The Archdiocese’s initiative is in accordance with the appeals made by Pope Francis in 2015 in his second encyclical, On Care for Our Common Home (Laudato Si’). In the encyclical, the pontiff called upon people all over the world to take unified action to fight global warming, practice responsible development, and protect the planet. Through these five solar projects, the Archdiocese of New York is doing its part to adopt environmentally-friendly programs while meeting its obligation to help its parishes run as economically as possible by significantly lowering energy costs.

On average, each solar project will provide approximately 50% of a parish’s annual energy needs. Each parish has signed a 20-year PPA with Con Edison Solutions. Under the agreement, Con Edison Solutions will install, own, operate and maintain the solar projects allowing the parishes to reduce energy costs by approximately 25% on average over the next two decades.

“Blessed Sacrament is thrilled to become a host for clean, renewable energy by taking part in the Archdiocese’s solar program,” said Monsignor Peter Finn, Pastor of Blessed Sacrament. “In addition to supporting sustainable energy while cutting energy costs and creating a physical demonstration of our commitment to preserving the environment for future generations, we will leverage the program as an educational aid by teaching our students about the latest clean energy technologies.”

“Con Edison Solutions is proud to partner with the Archdiocese of New York on this groundbreaking solar pilot program,” said Mark Noyes, president and CEO of Con Edison Clean Energy Businesses which includes Con Edison Solutions. “We applaud the Archdiocese and its participating parishes for championing solar power and its resulting environmental and cost-saving benefits. Working together with the Archdiocese and the schools, we have successfully installed five rooftop solar arrays that help bring us closer to a clean energy future.”

All five solar arrays are behind-the-meter, installed to serve the electrical needs at the customer’s building. The amount of electricity to be generated at each site will vary according to the system size. System capacity is detailed below:

  • Blessed Sacrament Parish – 153kW-DC with 472 PV modules
  • St. Ann’s Parish – 56 kW-DC with 173 PV modules
  • St. Anthony’s Parish – 78kW-DC with 240 PV modules
  • St. Clare’s Parish – 134kW-DC with 412PV modules
  • St. Patrick’s Parish – 136 kW-DC with 420 PV modules

The Archdiocese of New York is also working with Con Edison Solutions on potential community solar projects at other parishes, schools and other institutions in the archdiocese.

The Archdiocese of New York selected Con Edison Solutions through a competitive procurement process that included more than 10 solar developers. The two organizations have been working collaboratively since January 2017 to finalize the elements of the pilot program.

This solar energy initiative is part of a much larger energy program being led by the Energy Department of the Archdiocese of New York which includes several energy conservation efforts like energy audits, LED lighting upgrades, upgrades to higher efficiency heating and cooling options, tightening the building envelope and more efficient energy procurement.

News item from the Archdiocese of New York

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