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Gottesman RTW Academy (GRTWA)

The Gottesman RTW Academy is a Jewish community day school located in Randolph, NJ on a 17-acre campus. The student body is made up of approximately 200 students ranging from Early Childhood up to Middle School. The Academy is a state-of-the art facility, technologically-advanced, and is recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education for it’s consistent high levels of academic achievement. GRTWA also produces 90% of its own energy through solar modules, and features a greenhouse and rain gardens.

Problem

Solar power was included in the initial plan of the design of the building and the process was started before construction began at the site of the academy. It was essential to their Mission Statement, which included a Green Commitment that solar power was included as the main source of energy to power the campus. GRTWA operates as a non-profit organization which meant they would not receive the tax benefit installing solar through the academy itself. However, in order for the solar modules to be cost effective for the academy, the trustees needed to find a way to collect the 30% Tax Credit (ITC) incentive.

Solution

Steve Levy, along with other trustees of GRTWA formed an LLC which paid for the solar and installation. The non-profit organization used the model of ownership in the form of an LLC, using the roof space to generate power. The school has allowed them to use the rooftop while they buy power from the partnership. When the return on their investment was reached in the third year, the solar array was donated to the academy, along with the financial benefits such as the NJ SRECs.

Result

The Gottesman RTW Academy installed a 178.50 kW roof-mounted solar array with SunPower solar modules, the most efficient solar modules on the market in 2013. The Academy reached its return on investment in year three with the help of SREC income, the Tax Credit (ITC), MACRS Depreciation, and energy savings. Over the course of 15-years it is estimated that the array will produce about $618,000 in SRECs for a combined total savings after recouping the investment of $860,922. The array allows for students to learn and be interactive with green energy and will keep the academy cash flow positive for years to come.

Overall Solar Experience

“I can tell you with a high degree of confidence that financially it was a wonderful decision. It’s a good thing for the environment, it’s a wonderful combination.”

– Steven Levy – Treasurer, Gottesman RTW Academy

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