Rochester, NY – Heritage Christian Services (HCS), a non-profit offering supports and services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Upstate NY, is going green with a 2.69 MW solar array in Parma, NY. This array will allow Heritage Christian to have a more responsible energy footprint and reinvest the savings back into its dedicated workforce. The solar project was developed and installed by Ontario, NY based GreenSpark Solar, a local B Corp serving the Greater Rochester Area, the Finger Lakes region, and Western NY for over 17 years.
“Our workforce not only does a tremendous job supporting people, but they also care about our environment,” said Drew Bielemeier, Senior Vice President of Operations at HCS. “The solar idea came from our staff and we are excited to partner with GreenSpark to achieve a more responsible carbon footprint while reducing our costs.”
The 2.69 MW solar project serves dual purposes with two thirds of the array dedicated to community distributed generation, bringing solar energy to over 300 Rochester area households through a Community Solar Array (CSA). HCS is receiving over 1MW of solar power from the array, which produces enough energy to cover over 60% of Heritage Christian Services’ electrical needs in the Rochester area.
The solar array began producing energy in December of 2018. The project is owned by Kendall Sustainable Infrastructure, with HCS as the purchaser of the solar energy through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). With the PPA model a third-party financier is able to utilize the tax incentives, while HCS saves millions throughout the life of the array.
Bielemeier added the agency plans to continue partnering with GreenSpark Solar in 2019 to address more of its electric needs in the Rochester and Buffalo regions. Over the next 25 years, HCS looks to save approximately $2 million in energy costs.
“If more organizations took advantage of the financial benefits of solar energy, the entire economy of the Greater Rochester area would improve,” said Kevin Schulte, CEO of GreenSpark Solar. “We are talking about a non-profit, with budget constraints, taking positive steps to invest in their future. Heritage Christian Services has it right – they are showing its vast community how solar energy adoption positively impacts the daily lives of their employees, the people they serve, and their circles of support.”
Also benefiting from the solar project are Monroe County and the Town of Parma. As well, Hilton and Spencerport Central School Districts have access to the array for educational resources, including access to monitoring information and class field trips.
GreenSpark Solar applied for and received a grant on behalf of HCS through the NY-Sun Initiative, which is administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and is part of Governor Cuomo’s commitment to combating climate change and lowering energy costs for all New Yorkers. New York’s Clean Energy Standard recently increased from 50 to 70 percent renewable electricity by 2030, making it one of the most aggressive clean energy goals in the country. This commitment expands the clean energy economy in New York, creating local jobs. Outside of GreenSpark employees, this project employed over 70 workers from Rochester area companies.
About GreenSpark Solar – GreenSpark Solar, Loyal to People and Planet, creates ﬁercely local, cost-effective, clean energy options for the Greater Rochester Community. GreenSpark is a fully independent B Corp with a mission to provide diverse renewable energy solutions that produce meaningful cost savings, local economic beneﬁts, and a better balance with our planet for homeowners, business owners, community partners, and more. GreenSpark’s success is a result of our passionate and experienced team, and our commitment to using business as a force for good for nearly 20 years. We can be both proﬁtable and collaborative—creating win-win partnerships that beneﬁt our long term company health along with our growing solar family of customers, vendors, subcontractors, and our planet. For more information on how you can Go Solar visit greensparksolar.com.
About Heritage Christian Services – HCS partners with thousands of people throughout Rochester and Buffalo to ensure everyone – including children and people with developmental disabilities – feels valued and respected. Most of the agency’s 2,500 employees work to support people who have disabilities so they can find the best place to live and work and build strong community connections. The agency offers residential support, respite, community habilitation and employment supports. It has received a Compass designation by the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities for being one of New York state’s top service providers and earned national accreditation from the Council on Quality and Leadership. Heritage Christian Services is known for innovative community impact programs including the Pieters Family Life Center, Expressive Beginnings Child Care, The Center for Human Services Education, A Second Thought Resale Shop, Springdale Farm and Heritage Christian Stables. Visit HeritageChristianServices.org.