menu
Non-Profit Reduces Energy Costs by Financing Solar Canopy
Aug 28, 2018

Since 1980, Crossroads Church has been a registered non-profit operating under the name Calvary Chapel of Grass Valley, California. The church has approximately 1500 members and its income comes from donations, and with rental income from tenants occupying office spaces in its building. 

How to Reduce Energy Costs?
Crossroads began investigating solar power as a viable option to reduce their monthly electric bill. Their power bills were running in excess of $5000 per month. SDC Energy provided a viable financial solution for California Solar Electric Company out of Grass Valley that proposed solar array on the church’s property.
 
Our decision to go solar was simple – the cost savings,” said Ed Lech, Pastor Crossroads Church.
 
Nothing Stands in the Way
While the project is online and now operating, it didn’t come without its challenges. As the solar project got underway, a stumbling block emerged; the county adopted new building codes that changed roof snow load limits. The installation was designed to be a rooftop solar array and the new snow load limit made the roof top installation no longer feasible for the church. “The roof didn’t adhere to current load. There was no way we could put a rooftop solar array on that roof,” said Charles Schaffer, President of SDC Energy. This hitch didn’t deter SDC Energy or Cal Solar. 
 
Working Together
Design plans; engineering documents and solar financing was updated to transition the rooftop array into a 149 kW solar parking lot canopy.
 
Working to keep the financing structure, energy and cost offset on par, SDC Energy together with the team of solar installers and contractors finalized the documents, received permitting and began work on the canopy. 
 
SDC Energy did a good job for us. I was pleased with them,” Pastor Ed continued.
 
Green Solutions and Green Savings
Once installation was completed and the array commissioned, the canopy began generating 220,262 kWh’s of clean, green energy. Crossroads Church costs are offset 99% with an 80% energy offset. 
 
Located on the edge of one of the church’s existing parking lots, not only has the canopy reduced the church’s energy costs, it also provides shade from the intense California sun for almost 20 vehicles.
 
The canopy turned out to be a better solution because there’s not a log of shade covering the parking lot. We ended up with a covered parking area. It’s a missed blessing,” added Pastor Ed.
 
Solar Financing and Solar Investing Go Hand-in-Hand
SDC Energy helps organizations overcome these cost barriers by pairing two needs together making one remarkable solution. Here’s how it works. SDC Energy pairs investors wanting to reduce taxes and the non-profit wanting to reduce costs. Crossroads signed a prepaid SESA with SDC Energy, then arranged a loan from their bank for the one-time prepayment agreement on the solar agreement. The church made a single payment up front and is planning to buy out at the end of year six. While non-profits can’t use tax credits, investors can, resulting in a true win-win scenario. The non-profit’s energy costs decrease while their solar project installation makes money for the investor.  
 
"Traditionally, non-profits have been left out of the financing picture for solar installations" according to Martin Webb, Commercial Sales Manager at California Solar Electric Company. "By definition non-profits can't claim the tax incentives on solar. They are  forced to pay full price and oftentimes the last people to go solar in a community. With SDC's special non-profit-based solar financing available, over half of our commercial business is non-profits...churches, schools, fire departments, performing arts centers, children's camps. With no money out of pocket and monthly payments lower than their old utility bills or a single prepay with a PACE loan, working with SDC has been a game changer."
 
The Future of Solar Financing
SDC Energy continues to support non-profits, like Crossroads Church as they seek to lower energy costs and transition from utilizing traditional energy sources like coal and natural gas to solar. As SDC Energy has proven, solar is a very viable energy generation option for ratepayers and a stable asset class for investment. 
 
To learn more about SDC Energy’s solar financing and solar investing strategies, visit our website or call 408.723.4797.
 
Thank Your for Investing!
We’d like to send a big thank you to all who have invested in SDC Energy solar projects over the summer months. Thanks to you and your investments, we financed 8 projects last three months.