Sacred Heart church goes solar and Cuts annual energy expenses by $40,000
As one of the oldest churches in the diocese of Phoenix, Arizona's Sacred Heart Church and School have been serving the community for many decades. Recently, the church dramatically expanded its leadership role by promoting environmental responsibility through the implementation of dual solar photovoltaic systems at its campus in Prescott, AZ.
Parish officials partnered with Sun Valley Solar Solutions of Chandler to design and install a 100 kW system for their 2000-seat parish, and a 60 kW system for their k-8 school.
Sacred Heart’s business manager, Gene Murphy, admits that the decision to add solar was equal parts pragmatic and ethical.
“We’re very committed to promoting earth stewardship as one of our core tenets,” explained Murphy, who joined the church’s leadership team after nearly two decades managing his own business in Prescott. “At the same time, we also recognize the importance of managing operation costs wherever possible.”
The photovoltaic systems are one piece of a larger green energy retrofit and cost-saving initiative Murphy began in 2012. Other updates have included low-consumption LED lighting, updated plumbing, and new thermal pane windows.
“With energy costs on the rise, we’re constantly looking for anything we can do to offset expenses,” continued Murphy. “Being in Arizona, solar quickly rose to the top of our list because it not only offered the potential for significant savings, but it allowed us to demonstrate a clear commitment to the environment while freeing funds for other programs.”
Once the dioceses onboard, Murphy began searching for the right design and installation partner.
"We looked at this as a long-term investment, so we wanted top grade components and a partner that would handle design and installation, as well as ongoing maintenance,” explained Murphy. “We spent five months researching different providers, but the team from Sun Valley Solar Solutions instilled a sense of confidence from the very start. They offer top-notch products and a really solid reputation. Their customers seemed extremely happy, and that spoke volumes.”
With closing dates fast approaching on several APS incentive programs, Murphy and the Sun Valley Solar Solutions team wasted no time.
“I was worried that we’d have to reduce the scope of our solar project or adjust the budget in order to speed up the approval process,” explained Murphy. “But Sun Valley Solar really kept the whole thing moving. They helped us clear all the necessary hurdles and deadlines without sacrificing anything in terms of quality.”
“This is exactly the type of project we really love,” added Curt Hilliker, VP of Commercial for Sun Valley Solar Solutions. “We’re always motivated to help customers who truly understand the environmental importance of going solar, as well as the money they can save. I’m extremely proud to have assisted this church with such an important mission.”
“Solar was the biggest contributor toward achieving our goal of becoming a ‘net zero’ building,” concluded Murphy. “Other energy efficiency measures, including LED lighting, high-efficiency water heaters, and a host of other projects, have all benefitted from he strong foundation set by our solar energy system.”
Sacred Heart’s final design includes over 620 solar modules split between both buildings. The systems are expected to produce over 270,000 kWh of electricity annually, and save as much as $40,000 in electrical expenses every year.
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