Downtown church flips switch on solar array

Solar panel display atop St. David's Episcopal Church. (Mark Batchelder/KXAN)
Solar panel display atop St. David's Episcopal Church. (Mark Batchelder/KXAN)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The sunshine that returned to Central Texas skies Monday is helping one local church cut down on its electric bill.

St. David’s Episcopal Church put the finishing touches on downtown Austin’s largest solar site, installing and plugging in the last of 576 solar panels Monday morning.

“This has been something that’s been very exciting to us,” said David Boyd, rector of St. David’s Episcopal Church.

Ten years in the making, and now fully operational, the array on top of a parking structure adjacent to the church is soaking in the sun, and producing a lot of electricity.

“150 kilowatts,” said Chris Riley, an Austin City Council member involved in the project. “That’s about seven times larger than any other downtown project.”

“On a non-peak day, we do believe that the electricity generated will cover up to 75 percent of the needs of the building,” Boyd said.

That amount will save the church more than a $500,000 in electricity over the lifetime of the panels, allowing them to spend their money elsewhere.

“The resources that this will free up financially will enable us to further our work with our homeless population in Downtown Austin with different social service agencies that we support in our outreach programs,” Boyd said.

You can always catch the KXAN-exclusive Solar Power Generation Forecast weekend mornings on KXAN News Today.

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