Solar panels on the church

In 2013, the AWUC community embarked on a project to contribute to environmental sustainability by splitting split the electrical board into two and installing 120 solar panels (30kW output).  The solar panels took up around 75% of the overall cost of $52,000.

This was funded by a generous bequest of $20,000 for solar panels, and a number of other gifts, including wonderful support from the Adult Fellowship and the Catering Group.

During the course of scoping solar panel options, it was identified that in mid 2013, SA Power Networks altered the trigger point for when an electrical consumer moves from ‘usage’ based tariff to a ‘peak demand’ tariff. For AWUC, the immediate impact was an estimated change in electrical charges from around $20,000 per annum to around $40,000 per annum (both without solar). A consequence of this was that if solar was installed with no other changes, whilst electricity usage would reduce, the cost would increase. 

Hence it was decided to proceed with splitting the electrical board into two in order to avoid triggering the ‘peak demand’ based tariff. The board split and new meters to measure electrical usage are summarised as follows:

* Meter A – all air-conditioning units and front of house lights. The solar is connected to this and offsets the high demand from the air-conditioners.

* Meter B – all other electrical services, such as general lighting, kitchen, power points and office computers.

As a significant undertaking by the AWUC community, the panels and split board were dedicated to God’s service in March 2014.