From November 1, 2009 through October 15, 2011, Saint Jude Retreats had solar panels installed at its corporate headquarters, as well as at the Saint Jude Mountain Retreat home located in Wells, NY, by Adirondack Solar. Saint Jude Retreats is 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, dedicated to the research of methods for effective substance use problems solution through a CBE (Cognitive Behavior Education) program, intended to help people struggling with drug and alcohol use problems. With the help of federal grant money and the project management of NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority), the Saint Jude Retreats’ corporate headquarters and the Saint Jude Mountain Retreat House are beginning to see the results of these greener power saving measures.
Saint Jude Retreats partnered with Adirondack Solar for the installation process at both sites. Adirondack Solar, based out of the upstate Albany Capital District region, spearheaded the installation keeping the project running on time, meeting project specifications and filings, and avoiding significant cost overruns.
Adirondack Solar installed a 13,000 Watt net-metered, grid-tied solar electric system that consisted of 48 solar modules, 3-4,000Watt inverters and a roof mounting system at the Saint Jude Retreats Mountain Retreat home, which had a projected annual source energy estimation of 108 million BTUs generated. At Saint Jude Retreats’ corporate headquarters, they had installed a 37,400Watt net metered, grid-tied solar electric system which consisted of 170 solar modules, 3-12,000Watt inverters and a Ballast-mounted racking system which had a projected annual source energy of 362 million BTUS generated. This system is estimated to produce approximately 44,469 kWh per year.
Since Adirondack Solar installed the solar panels, Gerry Brown, Jr., Saint Jude Retreats’ corporate book keeper, stated that the electricity use of the company has significantly declined, as well as their electric bill has gone down several hundred dollars a month. Saint Jude Retreats is currently paying on their total cost share and, once that is paid off, they will be able use the money they would’ve put towards paying the electric bills towards more research and program supports to help individuals who have substance use problems.
There are many reasons in general, why solar panels are an excellent choice for the home and/or the office. From the Saint Jude Retreats’ perspective, these reasons are significant enough and the decision to make that switch to solar panel energy has been a very beneficial one. Listed below are just a few of these reasons:
- If you switch to solar panel energy, you are allowed to sell any surplus that you have that is generated from the solar panels back to the electric grid, your neighbors etc.
- Installing solar panels can benefit you financially by increasing the value of your home or business building. Real estate with installed solar panels is increasingly becoming very attractive to buyers, as it can save them money and time, as well as the upfront cost of the project, if they are interested in cleaner energy.
- One of the most obvious benefits is the decrease in heating bills, which is also a major reason for people to consider the switch.
- Solar panels can also be used to provide lighting and electricity for appliances that will help lower dependence on your utility company which again, lowers your electric bill.
By working with local upstate NY companies like Solar Adirondack and the state agency, NYSERDA, Saint Jude Retreats is utilizing their corporate and program philosophy in a very tangible manner. While purchasing solar panels is an investment, the immediate benefits are providing local work to installers and realizing long term benefits of lowering electrical costs, producing “greener” energy, and rolling those energy savings earned back into saving people’s lives with substance use education and support. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.