Inverter provider Enphase Energy Inc. and installer North State Solar Energy have partnered to complete a 500 kW solar photovoltaic system for the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas (CTTB), a Buddhist community and monastery in Ukiah, Calif., that serves as the main center for the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association. The 1,800-plus ground-mounted panels and Enphase micro-inverters at the CTTB are expected to save $6 million in energy costs over the 25-year lifespan of the system.
“North State Solar Energy listened to what the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas wanted to accomplish with its long-term energy goals,” says Hans Stullken, vice president of business development for North State Solar Energy. “We created solutions around these goals to bring together a unique solar project that is already outperforming its production estimates by over 10 percent.”
According to Enphase, the tremendous growth in population and retreat attendance at the CTTB, along with the expansion of its schools and other projects, made the increasing costs of energy a growing concern. With electricity rates increasing 6% every year over the last decade, the CTTB utilities group turned to North State and Enphase for help in becoming more energy independent. The array reduces its dependency on the local utilities and should produce enough energy to “zero out” the total CTTB electric bill by 2026.
The CTTB’s founder, Master Hsuan Hua, originally instructed his disciples to look into solar over 20 years ago. From there, a campus-wide strategic energy plan was developed, and five years ago, the CTTB piloted an initial 50 kW solar project, which helped pave the way for the current 500 kW system. The new array is an achievement that is part of a long-term vision of the CTTB to shift to renewable energy sources.
Enphase says the entire CTTB project was built using materials entirely made or assembled in the U.S., using an IronRidge ground-mount solar system, Enphase American Pride M-250 micro-inverters and SolarWorld USA 280W monocrystalline silicon solar modules. Enphase Enlighten software monitors the production, health, and performance of the array in real-time.