Fellowship Energy Leads the Way with Solar for Faith-Based Communities
(Richmond, VA…August 20, 2018)…Fellowship Energy LLC, a new clean energy finance company developing solutions for religious organizations and parochial schools, has completed its first solar installation for a faith-based community in Richmond, Virginia, as part of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Program.
The project provides St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, one of the largest Episcopal churches in the United States, with a 50 kilowatt (kW) rooftop photovoltaic (PV) system that produces an estimated 65 megawatt hours (MWh) annually of clean energy – enough to supply 14 percent of the church’s electrical load. Fellowship Energy’s finance solution allows St. Stephen’s to go solar with no upfront cost, realize an immediate reduction in utility bills and improve cashflow while actively participating in the creation of a more sustainable future.
“Funds that are freed up from often sizable utility bills can go to serve the community and causes that these organizations support,” notes Philip Kwait, founder and CEO of Fellowship Energy. “Making these dollars available for community service is the real benefit of Fellowship Energy’s efforts. These are the real customers we seek to serve.”
Virginia-based solar developer Performance Solar provided design and installation services for the project. Other local firms involved include Excel Electric as master electrician, responsible for permitting, installation and testing, and Advanced Engineering for structural review.
Steve Birdsong, president of Performance Solar, says “Performance Solar has worked with Fellowship Energy on multiple projects including St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. Fellowship Energy went above and beyond to ensure that the entire process was smooth, pleasant and easy for everyone involved. ”
Helping Churches and Parochial Schools Achieve a Sustainability Mission
Sustainability is often an important aspect of a faith-based community’s mission, but until now churches, parochial schools and other nonprofits have been left out of the solar revolution currently sweeping the nation due to their inability to take advantage of federal solar tax incentives and other challenges. Through Fellowship Energy, these communities can enter into a power purchase agreement (PPA), which guarantees a lower price for solar-generated electricity than the local utility and leads to an immediate reduction in overall operating expenses.
Fellowship’s financing product is structured like other solar PPAs in that there are no upfront out-of-pocket expenses for the place of worship and a third party owns and maintains the system, selling the clean energy back to the host organization for a period of up to 25 years. After six years, organizations
may opt to buy their system outright – enabling them to own an asset with proven and predictable performance at a fraction of the cost of installing the system.
St. Stephen’s financial obligations are guaranteed by the Episcopal Church Building Fund (ECBF). The ECBF is a fund specifically established to provide low-interest loans to churches for buildings and related projects.
About Fellowship Energy
Fellowship Energy was founded to support the sustainability missions of faith-based communities with a financing option that enables them to capture significant savings on their energy bills with no upfront expenses. With Fellowship Energy’s zero-down financing, churches, parochial schools and other religious organizations can add a solar system to their roofs, parking lots, or land and start saving on utility costs and facility operating expenses on day one.
Fellowship Energy can finance a wide scope of project sizes across the U.S. and does not rely on traditional church fundraising efforts, where congregants are asked to donate to fund these improvements. This makes Fellowship Energy an ideal partner for more disadvantaged communities with limited fundraising capabilities.
About the DOE SunShot Solar in Your Community Challenge
Fellowship Energy was accepted into the Solar in Your Community Challenge (SIYCC) under the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative in 2017. The SunShot Initiative is an effort to support solar energy adoption and make solar energy more affordable for all Americans. The SIYCC program supports innovative and replicable community-based solar business models addressing underserved populations, like faith communities. Under the challenge, Fellowship has committed to financing 16 solar installations with places of worship and parochial schools by the end of 2018.
The Solar in Your Community Challenge supports innovative and replicable community-based solar business models and programs that will bring solar to underserved communities such as low and moderate income households; state, local, and tribal governments; and non-profit organizations. More information about the selected teams and the Solar in Your Community Challenge is available: www.solarinyourcommunity.org.
For more information on how to go solar with Fellowship Energy, go to www.fellowshipenergy.com.