Upon more than four acres of land in the city of Poway are five buildings that make up Saint Bartholomew's Episcopal Church. It includes a sanctuary, parish hall, administration building, and pre-school. The establishment hosts worshipers as well as non-congregational groups. As a result of having opened its doors to the surrounding community, the campus began to utilize a growing amount of energy such that a suggestion to go solar was in time formed.
Due for another field trip, I volunteered to go to St. Bart’s along with community developer, Anne Bessinger I was thrilled to finally be on my way to see my first commercial install in person. To do that, I was first given a chance to ride in one of the company cars; the all-electric Rav4. “Welcome to the Rav,” said Anne when I hopped in the passenger side of the vehicle. Before leaving, Mr. Sullivan came by to wish Anne a happy birthday while I marveled at what I found inside. I was especially intrigued by the number that revealed how much further the car could travel off the last charge.
After talk of birthday plans and how the Rav works, we finally arrived at the church. I noticed that the parking lot was packed. It was only a Thursday and I had a hard time imagining that service was being held that day around nine in the morning. Regardless, Anne and I went up some steps to meet Johnny Watson, the man behind the church’s recommendation to go solar. He greeted us and did not waste any time giving us details on this particular house of worship.
Johnny led us into the administration building where we met with Maureen Ovenstone, parish administrator and the lady who facilitated the progress of the project. The building where we sat to discuss the system was one that featured three solar arrays. Another two were atop the parish hall. All together, they are estimated to produce 117,000 kilowatt hours per year. From the discussion I learned that the delivered product was in fact a redesign wherein the 260 panels could cover 90% of the campus’ energy usage.
When Johnny took a trip to visit his daughter in the Bay Area back in 2009, he attended a church that had already gone solar. By the time he came back to St. Bart’s the idea of solar became a solution to eliminating a $3,000 electricity bill. Not only did he regard energy costs when making his suggestion, he also took into account the environmental benefits that came with alternative energy. Maureen pointed out that the church currently takes to a new moto which is, “practicing good stewardship of all that God has given us.” It was nice to realize that one church-goers suggestion could move the whole congregation to be green.
Following a round of questions that Anne answered for the two parishioners, the four of us stepped out to see the installations. Johnny continued explaining the timely process in settling on the decision to go solar with Sullivan Solar Power. The company met their needs. Not only do we design and install, but provide financing options as well. With that, the establishment was assigned to a team in March.
Before the end of the tour, Maureen clarified that the day’s church participants were actually realtors. A conference was being held in the hall for these workmen and women. This was one of the reasons for St. Bart’s transition to solar. Many different communities like to come together on these grounds and the worshipers welcome them. They do so in hopes that the word would spread on the significant benefits there are to solar. I hope that with such recognition, my team can provide the masses with quality service as we did here.
To view this system's production click here.