The solar energy installation at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church in the Nauck area of Arlington, Virginia has caught the community's attention. It exemplifies sustainable energy and lets the parish demonstrate environmental consciousness and devotion with a large blue cross emblazoned on one array. But how did this project come about? Here's a behind-the-scenes look.
When it began
It all began with an informal meet up in early 2018 between some of the church's green committee members and Ipsun Solar staff. Over a beer, the group kicked around the potential for the church to go solar, the environmental benefits if they did, and what it would take to make it happen.
Soon enough, the discussion came to the matter of different financing structures, the most straightforward would involve a single investor. Crucially a church parishioner spoke up that yes, they would like to come on board to fund the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) structure for the solar project at OLQP. This would allow tax credit savings on the project and provide a way to pay for the project, and it would generate a return on investment as the church produced power over the years.
Using new tech to reflect older church art styles
Around then, the idea was first to brought up to give the solar system a signature, unique look by incorporating a feature that would resemble old stained glass windows. While the solar photovoltaic system represents the most modern technology, harking back to traditional religious art would provide a link to history, so the idea went. The committee was more than receptive and soon thereafter began considering designs for the colorful stained glass-inspired solar decoration.
Many alternate looks were considering for the solar decoration, which were designed by a company which is a spin-off out of MIT and known for advancing creative solar panel printed film applications. They ranged from shades of red and green to a rainbow of multicolored panes of solar made to recall stained glass, to a solid blue printed design. Much like early comic book printing or the Pointillist school of art, the process uses dots of color to read in the desired way at a distance.
A world of possibilities: high-efficiency solar plus decorative film
The look of the blue films on the solar cells is earning attention in the press and praise in the community:
For media inquiries about the Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church solar project and the blue cross design, the first use of blue printed films alone to make a design on a rectangular solar array, contact hannah [at] ipsunsolar [dot] com
If you're looking at solar and would like to either camouflage or decorate with Solar Skins, it can be done with minimal impact on energy production. For a solar installation that gets the right kind of attention, or blends into the roof place surface, we can deliver a beautiful solution, and we're proud to make it available in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. Saving money and clean air with solar has never been more aesthetic.