Two parishes in the Catholic Diocese of Trenton have become the first in the state to install solar power systems, thanks to a power-purchase agreement with Manasquan-based solar integrator Solis Partners.
Under the PPA, Solis will sell the energy generated by the systems to St. Mary’s Church, in Colts Neck, and Church of the Assumption, in North Hanover Township, at a fixed 75 percent discount of their previous electric bills. That’s estimated to lower the churches’ power bills by $600,000 over the 15-year life of the agreement.
“A PPA is a smart choice for nonprofit organizations as it enables them to realize the maximum benefits of solar power, a truly renewable source of energy that continues to support their mission for years to come,” co-founder and managing director Jamie Hahn said in prepared remarks.
Going forward, PPAs will be a tougher sell for Solis, Hahn said, owing to uncertainty over the credits and incentives that catapulted New Jersey’s solar industry to the national forefront.
“We will remain true on existing projects, and we have no concerns about delivering and sustaining the fixed (discount) rate for the two churches, but it will be difficult to see again,” Hahn said.
Proposed future projects may expect to obtain a fixed discount of between 20 percent and 40 percent, Hahn said — “still significant, but unfortunately we just can’t start offering anything more right now.”
Solis Partners said it’s pursuing solar projects in other dioceses throughout the state, including Metuchen, Camden and Newark.