Seminary Switches to Solar Energy

Atop our “New Facility” building, gleaming solar panels lie like sleek sunbathers. Soaking up the sun’s rays, they’re storing energy to power two buildings on our seminary campus.

The sparkling panels are being installed this weeOur Chancellor, Fr. Chad Hatfield, with the help of local contractor Cory White, shows off a solar panel that will become part of the solar grid on our New Facility building.Our Chancellor, Fr. Chad Hatfield, with the help of local contractor Cory White, shows off a solar panel that will become part of the solar grid on our New Facility building.k, September 20–24, and from now on they will provide clean, renewable energy for both our Three Hierarchs Chapel and our New Facility building, which houses classrooms and faculty and staff offices. Through the newly mounted solar grid, the Seminary expects to reduce its energy costs for the two structures by nearly 78%.

“We’ve been pursuing this project since 2007, when we decided to make a concerted effort at St. Vladimir’s Seminary to ‘Go Green’,” said The Very Rev. Chad Hatfield, Chancellor and CEO. “Renewable energy was a keystone in that plan, since statistics have proven that the largest controllable budget category in a school is typically energy related.

“Our seminary took those statistics to heart. Thus, in November and December 2007, we invested in complete energy audits for nine campus buildings, and in turn received detailed analyses and reports on these structures from the New York State Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). Each report included ‘Energy Cost Reduction Opportunities,’ which our Board of Trustees reviewed. In the end, we decide to partner with NYSERDA, as a participant in the New York State Solar Electric Incentive Program, to install a solar grid.”

In June 2010, the Seminary received notice that NYSERDA had awarded them a government grant in the amount of $72,556.50 for the solar project, which represents half of the cost of the project. The Seminary is approaching private foundations and individuals to fund the full cost.

NYSERDA is an agency that provides energy audits and analyses to small businesses, churches, schools, and other facilities to help them make informed decisions and implement energy-efficient strategies. The other “partners” in the solar venture at St. Vladimir’s are D.C. Power Systems, a distributor of renewal energy products based in California, which is supplying the structural materials for the project, and Best Energy Power, a local installer.

View a gallery of photos of the solar installation, by Gregory Hatrak.

Contact advancement@svots.edu if you wish to help the Seminary fund this project.