VIDEO: Solar Cells Power Chancery; Archdiocese Now Largest Private User of Renewable Energy on Guam

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Guam- With the installation of its new solar photovoltaic systems, the Archdiocese of Agana has now become the largest private user of renewable energy on Guam.

The Chancery Office and Archbishop Anthony Apuron’s home is now infused with the energy of the sun on San Ramon Hill. A blessing and dedication ceremony was held this morning [Tuesday] to mark the completion of the Archdiocese’s 2nd solar photovoltaic system.

The first one was installed at St. Francis Catholic School. Both systems were installed by Pacific and Solar Photovoltaics, Inc. under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) that will last 25 years with an Independent Power Producer (IPP).

Archbishop Apuron says as power rates are expected to continue rising, the solar array panels will save the Archdiocese thousands of dollars a year and turn their power meter backwards.

“This is all very natural,” said Apuron. “And the electricity that is gained from it will help conserve and allow us to harness the energy from the sun to be able to power almost everything that is palpable with the use of electricity.”

The photovoltaic installations were done according to the Guam Power Authority’s net metering program that was set in 2009.

Apuron hopes by the Archdiocese becoming the largest private user of renewable energy on island, it inspires others to learn more about this technology.

“We hope that we can be an example for the community that they’re using us as a springboard, hopefully even for the domestic homes, with the hope that they can and will save power and the expense of electricity,” said Apuron.

Pacific Solar and Photovoltaics Owner Bill Hagen says with a third system to be completed at Bishop Baumgartner Catholic School in Sinajana by mid summer, the Archdiocese will save over $100,000 in the next 10 years. He mentions the latest system installed at the Chancery office and Apuron’s home produces 335 kilowatt hours of electricity, which powers over 30 average homes.

“I think we’re taking out 95% of their power bill,” said Hagen. “That doesn’t mean that they have no expenses. They’re now buying power from a third party at less than GPA rates.”

He also says through the PPA, the system is owned by Pac Sol Generation.

“The church doesn’t have the funding to do these kind of projects nor do they get the tax credits for the tax depreciation,” said Hagen. “So there’s the advantage to the owner, Pac Sol Generation owns, but they also get the tax credits and the depreciation and they get their revenue from selling the power. So it’s a win-win.”

Hagen says plans are in store for installations at more private schools, as well as public schools. he adds they also are finding ways to make solar power more available and affordable for home owners.

“We’re designing a package where the average home owner takes their power bill and maybe a small investment and uses that to pay for the installation of their photovoltaics,” said Hagen. “It’s getting cheaper.”