Church uses solar to cut energy bill

By Ben Delman on August 10, 2017

The Tenth Street Baptist Church as called the Shaw neighborhood home for more than 40 years. In May, it switched on a 350-panel, 92 kW solar panel array. The system was sized to cover approximately all of the church’s electricity needs with solar.

Trustee Samuel Miller said the church has noticed an immediate return. The church just received its first full month utility bill with the system. Last June, the church’s electricity bill was $1,600. This month it was $274.

“It was in our favor to do this,” Miller said. “At this point we think we’ve done the right thing.” He noted several other churches in the District have also gone solar. This helped encourage Tenth Street Baptist to go solar. Miller said the church’s pastor was a key supporter of going solar, having learned of other congregations that did similar installations.

D.C.-based installer Solar Solutions performed the installation. The church, which paid nothing for the system up front, is leasing the system from the company for ten years. It locked in an electricity rate of 6 cents per kWh for that period. After the 10 year lease is up, Solar Solutions will donate the system to the church. The sale of the system’s SRECs paid for its initial construction.