In 2014 we acted on an opportunity to invest in a solar system for our campus. We took advantage of a complex loan program involving state and federal funds. While the financing for the project runs 20 years, the “savings” compared against what we used to pay for utilities grows every year as utility rates increase. The entire project is fully paid for at the end of 20 years, but there are annual savings along the way.
Unfortunately we incurred an additional $290,000 cost to lower the height of the panel holders early in the construction process. Obviously that added to the "payback" period by a few years. We loaned ourselves the unanticipated extra amount from unrestricted endowment funds, covenanting to re-pay the additional retrofit costs from initial savings first.
Our Adminstrationa and Finance Committee has good news to report: through a combination of rebates from the California Solar Initiative, coupled with using endowment earnings that would otherwise go to support the operating budget, the endowment fund was "repaid" for the $290,000!
The solar system is working, savings costs are being diverted to ministries, and it's nice to have shaded parking on hot, sunny days.
On behalf of the Administration and Finance team, thank you to our generous members who contributed to our Endowment Fund, created for investments to help with projects like our solar system.
For more information about leaving legacy gifts to our endowments, contact me at your convenience.
Tony C EMAIL