Church Roof Space Sought for Solar Panels


Would your church be interested in serving as a host for solar panels? Small producers of solar energy are looking for roof space and Georgia Interfaith Power and Light (GIPL) is hoping churches will be willing provide the space.

The request comes after Georgia Power initiated a program to buy solar power from small producers.

If churches agree, a ‘third party’ will install, maintain, and own a small solar projects on rooftops of church facilities. The commitment is for 20 years. The solar energy would not offset church energy use, but would be "pushed" back in the Georgia Power grid.  

GIPL is aggregating rooftop space from any number of churches so that there is a better chance the aggregated group will be selected in Georgia Power’s solar initiative (they only buy a certain amount) and GIPL needs a letter of commitment from the church by February 28. 

The letter will indicate that your church is interested in being a part of the aggregated bid to Georgia Power by GIPL; it does not obligate our church, legally, but shows a good-faith understanding that if the GIPL project is chosen AND your church, in particular, meets all the qualifications of the project, your church would participate, given all other issues are agreed to.

What Does Your Church Gain?
Well, first off, it allows us to install solar power on its rooftops at no cost and with zero upkeep for 20 years, with the potential to retain the system after the initial contract at little to no cost for the church.  It shows we have a commitment to environmental stewardship by helping solar power become a bigger reality in Georgia. 

The power produced by the solar panels will offset electricity Georgia Power would otherwise produce from coal or natural gas, most likely. It sets us up as a showcase for the community to say "we care for the environment and for God’s creation." It also provides you a small amount of money back BUT the proposal asks the church to commit to buy equivalent amount of green power with those funds (i.e., no cost, no revenue as far as Georgia Power bill is concerned). Finally, if the colloboration works in the interfaith community it would be a part of the largest solar program of it's kind in the country.

There are also some potential, yet very modest, benefits monetarily, as well as producing a savings in energy due to reduced heat effect by covering part of the rooftop. Potentially, the church would own the GHG ‘Renewable Energy Credits’ or RECS, which are trade-able and can be sold into some markets. GIPL would also receive some funds back and could use those to continue to fund energy audits and other aspects of their work, some of which might accrue to us via energy efficiency projects or the like.


GIPL Aggregation
1.    Church offers rooftop for solar installation
2.    Solar is installed on site at no additional cost to church
3.    Credit of $10/MWH for leasing space is provided on Georgia Power bill
4.    Solar energy sales belong to Sterling Planet
5.    Church retains rights to solar Renewable Energy Credits (RECs).

Church agrees to:
1.    Commit solar lease credit back to Georgia Power Green Power program
2.    Georgia Power debits bill by value of solar credit for additional Georgia biomass or solar
3.    Church receives solar RECS and biomass RECS for net neutral charges on bill
4.    Church may elect to increase Green power purchase
5.    RECS used to offset church electricity use

Sterling Planet agrees to:
1.    Contribute 10% portion of proceeds from green power sales it records through Georgia Power program to a green reinvestment fund to GIPL to use to invest in local sustainable projects.

1.    Pays for installation and all pertinent connections to Georgia Power, etc.
2.    Maintains and monitors panels
3.    Annual (minimum) maintenance of panels
4.    25 year warranty on panels and inverter
5.    Provides monitoring vehicle to enable church to see real time solar panel output
6.    Replaces inverter at year 15
7.    Assumes liability for installation and operation

Commitment letter from Church to GIPL is due February 28, 2013. If your church is interested, get more details and a copy of the initial agreement form by contacting Georgia Interfaith Power and Light at 404.377.5552 or