About the Project:
The River Road Unitarian Universalist (River Road UU) Church is a welcoming congregation, a green sanctuary, and has been serving the Bethesda, MD community since 1959. River Road UU Church is installing 142.7 kW of solar PV energy on the roof, which will produce 149,600 kWh of clean, renewable solar energy throughout the first twelve months of use.
Over the next 20 years, the solar PV system, which will be installed by Aurora Energy, will avoid the consumption of 2,854,054 kWh of energy not sourced from the local utility provider, mitigating 2,023 metric tons of carbon dioxide, greenhouse gas emissions. These energy savings will lead to a projected savings of $105,868 over 20 years in reduced electricity bills for the church.
The project will be financed through a 20-year power purchase agreement between Skyview Ventures and River Road UU Church. River Road UU Church signed a Power Purchase Agreement, or “PPA,” with the owner and developer of the solar system, Skyview Ventures. The selected solar installer, Aurora Energy, is under an Equipment, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) agreement with Skyview Ventures for the installation of the solar PV system.
Montgomery County Green Bank’s Role
The Commercial Solar Power Purchase Agreement (CSPPA) program developed by the Montgomery County Green Bank allowed River Road UU Church to install solar and experience the benefits of solar without upfront costs through a no money down rental agreement with Skyview Ventures. In this PPA or rental agreement, Skyview Ventures pays for all maintenance and operations costs, while River Road UU Church only pays for the electricity produced by the solar system at a contracted price that is lower than current utility costs. This makes the project beneficial for River Road UU Church economically and environmentally.
According to the project’s solar developer, Skyview Ventures, “If Montgomery County Green Bank did not help finance this project through their program, then it would not have been economical for the customer to build solar.”
The Montgomery County Green Bank has been working closely with Interfaith Power & Light on helping faith communities go solar. See ipldmv.org/solar for more resources from Interfaith Power & Light, including a map of existing faith communities with solar and a recording of an info session on solar for faith communities.