Logo for: The Chapel of the Cross

Solar Power is on its Way to The Chapel of the Cross

On April 20 the Vestry approved the installation of solar panels on the flat roofs of the parish buildings. The proposal was initiated by the Creation Care Committee in December of 2022 and subsequently approved by the Buildings & Grounds and Finance Committees. The project will cost $110,000 and be funded by a Duke Energy rebate, a Federal Department of Energy grant, and donations from 26 parishioners as well as a potential Green Grant from the Diocese.

8M Solar, a Raleigh-based firm, has been selected to provide and install the solar photovoltaic (PV) system.   Because the panels will be installed on the flat roofs, they will not be visible from the ground.  This is important because the church buildings are in the Chapel Hill Historic District. Were the panels to be visible from the street, they would be subject to any regulations the Historic District Commission might impose. That helps to explain the zoning notice sign out front of the church.  We will appear before the Historic District Commission on 5-9-23 in case there are any questions about the proposed system, but our approval for the installation is on the consent agenda. We anticipate no problems with approval.

The picture of the system illustrates the location of the panels.

The installation will produce electricity to be used within the church facility, and it will reduce the Parish’s operating costs over the approximate twenty-five-year lifetime of the solar PV system. The system will be tied to the Duke Energy electric power grid, so that any solar electricity which is not used by the parish buildings will be returned to the grid for credit. It is expected that the savings produced will amount to approximately $6,000 per year or 11% of our current Duke Energy bill.

Real-time operational data of the solar system will be displayed on a widget on one of the large monitors in the Welcome Center.   This real-time display of the savings developed by the solar array may well serve as an incentive for our parishioners and visitors to consider owning and operating their own solar PV systems, and thereby strengthen our mission to preserve God’s creation. The picture illustrates what that widget might look like.

Installation will begin in late summer or early fall.