Fellowship Energy, 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-kW rooftop PV system that produces an estimated 65 MWh annually of clean energy—enough to supply 14% 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 cash flow while actively participating in the creation of a more sustainable future.
“Funds that are freed up from often sizeable 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.
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 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. This makes Fellowship Energy an ideal partner for more disadvantaged communities with limited fundraising capabilities.