St. Anthony Retreat dedicates new solar array


St. Anthony Retreat dedicates
On Sunday, December 22, 2019, Bishop Joseph Brennan (back row center), St. Anthony Retreat Center staff, donors, and community members attended the dedication of the new two-megawatt solar array at the Retreat Center. (Alfredo Camarena photo)

St. Anthony Retreat Center officially dedicated a new 2-megawatt solar array on Sunday, December 22, 2019. Bishop Joseph Brennan of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno officiated at the dedication attended by staff, donors, and community members.St. Anthony Retreat dedicates

The system is designed to meet 100 percent of the energy needs at the Retreat and the adjacent Santa Teresita Youth Conference Center, which are situated on a 62-acre property in Three Rivers, Calif. That will reduce operating expenses, and the clean energy capability will continue to support St. Anthony Retreat’s expansion for many years to come. St. Anthony Retreat dedica

According to Msgr. John Griesbach, director of the retreat center, future plans include the addition of a third dormitory at the youth conference center (100 campers) and a new wing for the retreat center that will accommodate 100 adults.

The solar field includes 555 panels capable of producing 2 megawatts of power annually. The system’s carbon-footprint offset of 660 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year is equivalent to removing 160 passenger vehicles from the road annually.

 “As part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno, reducing our carbon footprint and our impact on the planet is a top priority,” said Julia Fracker, St. Anthony’s new director of marketing. “The renewable energy generated by our solar field is a reliable, cost-effective way to address sustainability commitments and allow for continued growth while caring for our common home, our planet, and all its beauty.” 

The anticipated annual savings is $127,000, which is the current yearly electric bill for the entire complex. The panels, purchased from Barrier Solar Power Systems, were fully funded by a donation from the late Manuel and Shirley Maciel.

“The donors were looking for the best gift that they could give to the retreat center that would have the longest lasting effect on our future and continued growth,” said Mike Hand, St. Anthony’s business manger. “This project will not only benefit the retreat center, but also have a positive impact on the environment.”

St. Anthony Retreat Center is located at 43816 Sierra Drive in Three Rivers. With two full kitchens, the retreat and conference centers host private, individual getaways, and group gatherings for as many as 425 people.


St. Anthony Retreat dedicates
At the December 22 ceremony, Maciel family members, with Msgr. John Griesbach (back row center left) and Bishop Joseph Brennan (back row center right), unveiled a plaque memorializing Manuel and Shirley Maciel, principal donors of the new solar field at St. Anthony Retreat Center. (Photo courtesy St. Anthony Retreat)

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