Cornerstone Fellowship Case Study

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Key Facts

Location Livermore, CA
System Size 266 kW
Installed December 2008
Estimated Lifetime CO2 Reduction 135,563,535 lbs
Est. Annual Electricity Production 379,192 kWh
Annual Savings $17,312
Payback Immediate
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"Solar was both a sound financial decision and a sound environmental decision. There was no cost to us, we could reduce our energy expenses and Cornerstone Fellowship would be a greener organization."
Joe Honzik, Director of Finance
Cornerstone Fellowship
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Cornerstone Fellowship Deepens Environmental Investment

A Spiritual Responsibility to the Earth

Cornerstone Fellowship grew from a small Bible study in the early 1990s to become one of the largest Christian churches in the East Bay. Cornerstone's leadership believes deeply in sustainability. "Our commitment comes out of our basic belief that God created the Earth and put us here to care for it and tend it," says Joe Honzik, director of finance at Cornerstone. "What we do grows out of what we believe. As new opportunities come to do a better job of that, we move forward."

In fact, the church's pastor even created a "Commitment to Creation," policy that reflect the congregation's role in protecting and caring for the resources entrusted to them. This includes an aggressive recycling program, energy conservation—and most recently, hiring SolarCity to convert the 24,000 square foot roof of the church to solar power.

"There Didn't Really Seem to be a Downside."

Cornerstone chose to work with SolarCity in part because of SolarCity's affordable Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) financing option, which allows the church to pay less for solar electricity than it previously paid for electricity produced by coal, fossil fuel and other polluting sources. With SolarCity's PPA, Cornerstone also receives free maintenance and system monitoring. Cornerstone's congregation can track the church's energy production via a link to SolarCity's SolarGuard monitoring system.

"Solar was both a sound financial decision and a sound environmental decision," says Honzik. "There was no cost to us, we could reduce our energy expenses and we would be a greener organization. With SolarCity, there didn't really seem to be a downside."

A Higher Power at a Lower Cost

Church leaders say they appreciate SolarCity's professionalism. Honzik says SolarCity's expert team presented a clear vision for Cornerstone's solar system, they were easy to work with during the planning phase and shared the congregation's excitement about the impact the solar system would have. Facilities director John Paladini reported that the installation of the system went "like clockwork."

But it was the affordable financing option that really made the difference. "I have been sharing my own revelation that there's no reason to purchase panels anymore," says Honzik. "In addition to the PPA, SolarCity also has a solar lease option for homeowners, and I've been talking to quite a few people about how exciting it is to go solar and not have to shell out a bunch of money upfront."