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(Photo by Valerie Schmalz/catholic san francisco)

All Souls principal Vince Reiner with one of the workers installing the system on the roof of the South San Francisco school.

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All Souls goes solar – first in the archdiocese
November 1st, 2016
By Valerie Schmalz

All Souls School and Parish, located in one of the Bay Area’s foggier areas, became the first school and parish to go solar in the Archdiocese of San Francisco this month.

All Souls principal Vince Reiner said estimates indicate the South San Francisco school will save at least $12,000 a year in electrical costs. The parish, which is also installing solar panels on the church roof, will save $15,000 the first year, according to project estimates by the solar company, Sunjevity.

“It’s a legacy for the future,” said Reiner. Previously the school had installed energy saving lights and new energy efficient boilers were installed recently, he said.

A needed new roof was put on the school in June, as well, which should last the life of the solar panels laid on top of it, said Steve Kalpakoff, director of construction and building for the archdiocese, who managed the project for the parish.

He said it was “absolutely” worth it for the parish and school.

“I wish we did a lot more of them,” Kalpakoff said. “I would recommend it if the parish can afford it. The system will last 20 to 25 years and you are going to save thousands and thousands of dollars.”

The self-ballasting system uses heavy blocks to hold down the panels on the roof, and the roof is not penetrated so leaks are unlikely, said Benito Garcia, vice president of Renewable Electric Inc., the subcontracting installer. It is designed for stability for winds up to 110 miles per hour, Garcia said.

Over the 25-year expected life of the project, the church will save nearly $600,000 while the school will save almost $500,000, according to Sunjevity’s estimate. The cost of the school project was $81,000 while the church project was about $75,000. The savings estimates are calculated after subtracting the project costs. The parish owns the system outright so savings kick in immediately in both the parish and school operating budgets.

The solar panel project was paid for in monies collected in the parish bingo account, said Reiner. Every Friday night, the parish hosts a bingo game in the hall.

“It is not only that we see it is more economical, it is ecological,” said All Souls pastor Father Briccio R. Tamora, a Divine Word Missionary.

From November 3, 2016 issue of Catholic San Francisco.

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