St. Benedict Catholic Church and school in Holmdel, N.J., is the first organization to take advantage of the program, with its installation completed in late February. It is part of the Catholic Diocese of Trenton, N.J. The school also has created a special Science Day to be held Monday, April 23 around the solar installation and usage so its 509 students from kindergarten to 8th grade can learn firsthand about solar energy.
Because 1st Light Energy completed the project in record time, it was able to prevent St. Benedict from losing $100,000 in Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) payouts.
Under the Benevolent Solar Fund program, participating organizations will receive a tax deductible contribution of $500 or $1,000 in the name of a qualified homeowner or business owner. Under the terms of a multi-year power purchase agreement, solar panels are installed at no cost as part of a lease arrangement.
In order to receive funds under the program, eligible organizations need to organize at least 30 homeowners to attend an educational session hosted by a 1st Light Energy representative. The sessions promote solar energy, its affordability and its benefits. Funds will be awarded upon installation of the system.
“In these difficult economic times, nonprofit organizations and agencies and municipalities in New Jersey can use all the help they can get,” said Justin Krum, founder, president and CEO of 1st Light Energy. “Our new Benevolent Solar Fund is a real win-win for them. They get all the benefits of clean, affordable solar-generated electricity at no cost, plus a guarantee of system production and coverage for all maintenance.”
At St. Benedict, 506 solar panels were installed in 11 groups behind the school; another 429 panels were placed on the roof of the school. Evergreens will be planted to screen the ground-mounted panels from view.
“Our power purchase agreement with 1st Light will not only reduce our electric costs by more than 30% right off the bat, it will effectively eliminate them over 15 years because of our share in the financial benefits of the program,” said St. Benedict Parish Administrator Catherine Warshaw. “This program is a great way to achieve responsible stewardship of our parish resources, and is providing us with material for valuable scientific and environmental lessons for our students.”
“Also, I have the highest regard for 1st Light Energy,” Warshaw continued. “Because another company was unable to complete the job, we brought the 1st Light team on board in December 2011, and they had to finish the installation by February or we would have missed a significant payout from our SREC agreements. They worked through the coldest months of the year and truly saved the day for us and our parish. We will dedicate and bless the system on Sunday April 22nd at 2 p.m. as part of our Earth Day celebration. Our students will have a similar dedication the following day.”
Any media wishing to attend the Science Day at St. Benedict on Monday, April 23, please contact Wendy Marx, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Michael O’Brien, email@example.com.
For more information on 1st Light Energy, visit www.1stlightenergy.com, follow us on Twitter @1LE_Solar.