Casas Church finds solar spiritual and sensible

Casas Church of Oro Valley is now the owner of the city’s largest solar system. It’s recently commissioned 686 kW system covers approximately two acres in the Arizona desert and involved relocating hundreds of sensitive cacti.

“We decided to go solar for two reasons,” says Casas spokesperson Seth Kreimeyer-Kelly.  “The primary one was that we recognized the economic sense that [solar] made for our church.  We’re always trying to be wise with our

Sunny Tipowers at Casas Church

Sunny Tripower three-phase inverters mounted on the back of the Schletter FS racking.

finances and using solar energy seems to be a way to do that.”

Doing it right

The church’s leadership and members also believed strongly in protecting the environment. That belief grew into an impressive 2,112-module system using Kyocera 325s, 13 Sunny Tripower 24000TL-US and 15 Sunny Tripower 20000TL-US inverters designed and installed by Tucson-based Technicians for Sustainability (TFS).

Each month, the system offsets more than 105,000 pounds of coal from traditional power plants and prevents 222,800 pounds of carbon dioxide from fouling local air quality and polluting the atmosphere. Additionally, 80 to 85 percent of the energy needs of the church and its two schools will be offset by the solar energy.

Playing it cool
Shade structure 2

One of the two shade structures covering play areas for Casas Church students.

Beyond the ground-mount system, the team at TFS included two custom-designed solar shade structures, each covering part of the children’s playgrounds and school yards.  The structures are nearly 20 feet tall to clear the second-story windows while offering a break from the Arizona sun.

Increasing the system’s cool-factor was the joining of forces to accomplish the installation. This was the largest install the TFS team has coordinated to date, large enough for them to ask Positive Energy, a fellow Amicus Solar Cooperative member, to lend a helping hand on the jobsite. This unique blending of install teams led to a great exchange of skills and techniques for mutual benefit.

The building power of solar is seldom seen as easily as the Casas Church system, bridging financial and environmental gains with new and exciting professional challenges for the teams involved in bringing it from idea or reality.

This post was originally published in 2015. The tips and techniques explained may be outdated.

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