Posted in electrify everything, no fossil fuels, transport

Electrifying it all — starting today

Today marks the long awaited announcement from Philadelphia’s Office of Transportation and Infrastructure Systems, the release of  Connect: Philadelphia’s Strategic Transportation Plan.

Connect is meant to guide the City in creating a transportation system that benefits everyone. A transportation system that is safe, affordable, accessible, and reliable at moving Philadelphians, visitors, and commerce so neighborhoods thrive, people are healthy, and the economy grows.

Though I’ve yet to read the plan, you can view the data book, download the executive summary, or the full plan, here.

electrification of all modes of transport

Later today, the newsfeed showed

When Paris banned cars with even-numbered plates for a day in 2014, pollution dropped by 30%. So last year, it led with plans to ban all petrol cars from the city by 2030 in pollution crackdown. Since then, it seems other cities have taken Paris’ lead, and to date, 13 cities that are starting to ban [gasoline] cars.  The future is today, if we can grab it!

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Posted in no fossil fuels, solar

Heating our Philadelphia row home without fossil fuels

As we gut a Philadelphia row home, we’re also making plans for it to become a frack-free house, a phrase popularized by the architecture firm Bright Common. This translates to: No gas appliances delivering fracked gas from Western Pennsylvania into our home. Everything that used gas will be replaced with electric options.

So far, we’ve happily removed the gas oven / range and the associated gas pipes out of the kitchen. For cooking, we’ve selected an electric stove. And already have other electric appliances to supplement this: toaster oven, microwave, induction cooktop and crockpot.

We’ve also begun removing the cast iron radiators in each room, along with the associated hot water pipes coming up from the boiler in the basement. 

For heating the house, we realize the row home design that abounds in Philadelphia means we are tucked in between two neighbors. The only heat loss would be from the exterior walls. We’re therefore building out the walls by 4” so that we can pack in insulation. Matus Windows, a local company with a good reputation, will replace the windows. After this, the exterior walls should be draft free.

We’ll still need a heating system. Looking at our options, we’d heard that mini-split ductless systems are the most efficient. So we called in a recommended HVAC company to advise us on this. They were fixed on one brand: Mitsubishi, and that’s what was priced for us, a 20,000 Btu system. They were unable to advise us how much electricity this would use. And we learned that our favorite thermostat, the programmable and self-learning Nest, would not be compatible.

What we did learn was that one outside compressor and 2 inside air handlers would do the job, offering us 2 zones to heat and cool. I’d hoped the compressor could stay in the garage or basement, spaces with the least temperature swings during the summer and winter, but was advised this was against the building codes in our area.

I’ve since learned that 12,000 Btu equals 1 ton. Also, that estimates vary on the area this would “condition”; from 400 – 500 sf, and up to 800 – 1000 sf. Most sites mention ductless mini-splits when discussing indoor cooling, but since we prefer to cool off with ceiling fans and have rarely used air conditioning, our focus is on using the mini-splits for wintertime heating.

Per one site (7 tips to get more from mini split heat pumps), we also learned to

  • plan for average lows, not record lows.
    • For Philadelphia, the mean minimum is 6.4F, with record low of -11F. We should plan for 6F.
  • plan on using space heaters during extreme cold spells.
    • We’ve got plenty of these from when we used a gas boiler to ramp up indoor heat in the mornings, and then, like task lighting, used space heaters in the specific rooms with people.
  • plan for outdoor compressor to draw air from indoor space.
    • This makes so much sense, since the interior air has less temperature fluctuation. The one installer we called advised us this isn’t to code. I’ll have to see what the next company says.
  • position interior air handler about 18” off floor
    • This too was a surprise. Most mini-split installations I’ve seen are mounted closer to the ceiling. But perhaps that’s because they were designed for cooling the space.
  • an actual example of a 3/4 ton (or 9,000 Btu) system suffices for a  1,500 sf home in Massachusetts, and uses about 1,500 kWh per year.
    • A system this size (9,000 Btu) should definitely work for our 650 sf row home in Philadelphia. Note that this is much smaller than the size recommended by the first HVAC company (20,000 Btu).
    • Assuming it will use proportionately less electricity, we estimate the annual usage to be 650 kWh per year.
  • select higher HSPF (heating season performance factor), which is measured in Btu / Wh.

The buying guide from Consumer Reports suggests we also consider noise levels and demand defrost options. The recommended noise level is about 7 decibels. The demand defrost option is to keep icicles from forming on the outdoor compressor fans, which sounds worthwhile.

My initial reason for asking annual electricity usage from the HVAC company was because we’re also planning to install rooftop solar. We wanted to know that the rooftop system would not only suffice for our lighting, electronics, cooking, and hot water needs, but also for our heating and cooling needs.

Chatting with Dara Bortman of Exact Solar (an area residential solar installer), I learned that there were solar mini split systems out there, powered by either DC from the panels or AC from the grid. The system I’ve got my mind set on is the unit by HotSpot, sold as an air conditioner, i.e. cooling needs.

This 35 SEER system cools by using 11,500 Btu per hour, or about 328 W (11,500 / 35).  Assuming we might only need cooling for 8 days, about 8 hours per day, the electricity used for the season would be

328 W x (8 days / season) x (8 hours / day) = 20,992 Wh, or 20.9 kWh per cooling season.

Of more interest to us is the heating season. This 10 HSPF system heats by using 13,000 Btu per hour, or about 1300 W (13,000 / 10).  Assuming we need heat for 5 months, 8 hours per day, the seasonal electricity usage would be

1300 W x (5 months / season) x (30 days / month) x (8 hours / day) = 1,560,000 Wh = 1560 kWh per season

Note that we had estimated 650 kWh per heating season, based on the Massachusetts example. It could be they like the house a little cooler. Or it could be we don’t really need to run a heating system for 8 hours per day. The other difference is that their 9,000 Btu Fujitsu system has an HSPF of 12.5, whereas the Hotspot’s HSPF is 10.0.

My concerns are

  • Noise – the indoor noise level is stated to be 26 dB at the low setting, while 7.6 dB is recommended. Would this feel too loud?
  • Placement of compressor – I would like the heat exchanger to be in the basement,  not outside in extreme temperatures. If it must be outside, we’re thinking of mounting it over the garage door, with the 3 panels above as a protective awning.
  • Circuit load – Could I have the heat going, while making tea or taking a shower on a cold morning? Without blowing a fuse? The stove is rated for 30 Amps, the tankless hot water system at 60 Amps, and the mini-split heating system at 5.3 Amps. All together, about 95 Amps. Well within the 100 Amp panel in the garage.
  • Thermostat – It’s unclear how the setback thermostat works for this. I plan to keep the house cool at night, and expect a thermostat to warm up the house before I wake up.

Thoughts?

Posted in no fossil fuels

Electricity for the house. From Renewables, please!

You understand all the reasons to switch to renewables: the climate pickle we’ve got ourselves into, and the resultant unbreathable air from burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas to generate our electricity.

You also understand the need for a rapid transition to renewable energy, particularly in the electricity sector. But… you may live in an apartment, a condo, or just a house with a shady roof — all of which made it impossible to invest in solar panels on your own roof. Or, though your roof gets tons of sun, you may not have the funds to invest in rooftop solar.

What do do?

  • We suggest you switch your electricity supplier to The Energy Co-op, choosing their EcoChoice 100 product.
  • We also suggest you join us: The Northwest Philly Solar Co-op for a $25 annual fee. We offer tips like this, and also one-on-one energy efficiency help.

Why?

The Energy Co-op is a local, well established company, spun off from Weavers Way Co-op. Their EcoChoice 100 product offers 100% renewable electricity, 99% from PA wind farms and 1% from solar. With a fixed rate, you won’t get surprised 6 months from now! Other companies may offer cheaper options, but most promote renewables in other states, and all appear gimmicky to us. Don’t take my word for it. Read Marion & Dave Brown’s experience; then read Chrys Brown’s experience, both shared in the Weavers Way Shuttle. Then, buy local!

How?

Go to The Energy Co-op’s website.. Or call their only office, in Center City Philadelphia, where someone from their small staff will assist you with the switch. Their number is 215.413.2122. Tell them Meenal sent you!

Now to get my own mother to switch back to The Energy Co-op after someone came to her door and presented a gimmick…


Originally published on NW Philly Solar Co-op’s site, here.

Posted in banking, clean renewable energy, divest, no fossil fuels, pipelines, solar, transition

Marcellus Shale – A Blessing or a Curse?

Our state has been blessed, some say. Possibly cursed, say some others. I’m talking about the abundant gas reserves in the Marcellus Shale. Cursed because of issues during Extraction, Transportation & Consumption.

Extraction is also known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking. When chemicals are forced into the ground, they contaminate the water table, affecting the well water of rural townships. As the gas is forced out & captured, there are leaks. Leaks that affect the local air quality and detrimental to the health & property values. The same methane leaks are an important contributor to climate change, worse even than carbon dioxide. 

Transportation of fracked gas is typically by pipelines. Pipelines that are known to leak or explode, with cleanup expenses left to the taxpayers. Rights for these pipelines, going thru wetlands, woodlands and private property, are gained via eminent domain in the name of public utility.  but are really for private gain by fossil fuel companies. Permit applications are shoddy, and fragmented construction begins in communities with the least resistance. Communities are not compensated for the devastation, nor the liability.

There are several pipeline developments, all headed to or through the greater Philadelphia area – the Mariner East 2 pipeline slated to carry fracked gas liquids from west to east, ending up in nearby Delaware County, and destined for export, to be made into plastic bags in Europe. How does this qualify the pipeline builders to claim in the courts that they’re a public utility? 

Then there’s the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline destined to travel north to south, going through farmland in Lancaster County. And the PennEast pipeline thru Bucks County into New Jersey. And smaller segments across the Delaware River (which supplies the drinking water for 15M people), and into the Pinelands in South Jersey.

gas burning from a kitchen gas stove

Which leads us to …Consumption. The pipeline going thru the Pinelands is headed to a gas power plant, where the fracked gas will be burned to generate electricity. Much like the SEPTA gas plant locally in Nicetown that 350 Philly and others are fighting. Advertised as clean burning at point of ignition, the industry ignores the devastation left in its wake. 

Once you realize that natural gas is the same as methane, and that methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than even carbon dioxide (86 times), you’ll agree, it’s no longer clean burning.

Who’s doing this extraction, transportation & building up the large scale demand for fracked gas? The same companies behind the Dakota Access Pipeline:  

Sunoco Logistics, Williams Company, Energy Transfer Partners

Who’s funding these companies?

Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citibank, Citizens Bank, HBSC Bank, TD Bank

And many of us thru our personal accounts, our investments and our retirement plans.

It’s time to #divest and #reinvest all of our funds into clean energy from #solar and #wind, and leave the Marcellus Shale reserves resting safely underground.


Initially presented at Indivisible NW Philly meeting on March 12 2017.

Posted in no fossil fuels

Ask the electors

I just went to asktheelectors.org, and wrote the following. Please write in your own words why they shouldn’t select Donald Trump as our President.


Subject: please consider the popular vote and vote with climate awareness

Dear Elector,

My name is Meenal Raval from Philadelphia, PA.

A presidential election like the recent one is exactly why our forefathers created the electoral college. Please consider the popular vote when you select our next president.

As the Dalai Lama said: “We are the generation with the awareness of a great danger. We are the ones with the responsibility and the ability to take steps of concrete action, before it is too late” to act on climate.

The wrong president will truly spell doom for our entire planet.

Thank you for your time and consideration, I appreciate and respect the role you serve in our electoral process.

Sincerely,

Meenal


 

Posted in no fossil fuels, pipelines

a perspective on Standing Rock

Transcript of the incredibly honest and moving segment by Lawrence O’Donnell that aired Aug 25, 2016 – Rewrite: the Protests at Standing Rock. In just over 4 minutes, Lawrence explains why a protest by Native Americans in North Dakota reminds us of the history America always tries to forget.


“Dakota means friend. Friendly. The people who gave that name to the Dakotas have sadly never been treated as friends.

The people whose language was used to name the Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa, Oklahoma, Ohio, Connecticut, Massachusetts and other states.

The Native American tribes, the people who were here before us, long before us, have never been treated as friends. They have been treated as enemies, and dealt with more harshly than any other enemy in any of this county’s wars.

After all of our major wars we signed peace treaties. And lived by those treaties. After World War II, when we made peace with Germany, we then did everything we possibly could to rebuild Germany. No Native American tribe has ever been treated as well as we treated Germans after World War II.

Donald Trump and his supporters now fear the country invaded by foreigners who want to change our way of life. A fear that Native Americans have lived with every day for over 500 years.

The original sin of this country is that we invaders shot & murdered our way across the land killing every Native American we could and making treaties with the rest.

This country was founded on genocide, before the word genocide was invented. Before there was a war crimes tribunal in the Hague.

When we finally stopped actively killing Native Americans for  the crime of living here before us, we then proceeded to violate every treaty we made with the tribes. Every single treaty. We piled crime on top of crime on top of crime against the people whose offense against us was simply that they lived where we wanted to live.

We don’t feel the guilt of those crimes because we pretend they happened a very long time ago, in ancient history and we actively suppress the memories of those crimes but there are people alive today whose grandparents were in the business of killing Native Americans. That’s how recent these crimes are.

Every once in a while, there is a painful & morally embarrassing reminder as there is this week in North Dakota near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation where hundreds of people have gathered & camped out in opposition to an interstate pipeline being built from North Dakota to Illinois.

The protest is being led by this county’s original environmentalists. For 100’s of years, they were our only environmentalists. The only people who thought that land & rivers should be preserved in their natural state, the only people who thought a mountain or a prairie or river could be a sacred place.

Yesterday a federal judge heard arguments from the tribes, against the federal government’s approval of the pipeline and said he will deliver his decision on whether the pipeline can proceed next month.

There are now over 90 tribes gathered in protest of that pipeline. That protest will surely continue even if the judge allows construction to proceed.

And so we face the prospect next month, of the descendants of the first people to ever set foot on that land, being arrested by the descendants of the invaders who seized that land. Arrested for trespassing.

That we still have Native Americans left in this country to be arrested for trespassing on their own land is testament not to the mercy of the genocidal invaders who seized and occupied their land, but to the stunning strength, and the 500 years of endurance and the undying dignity of the people who were here long before us. The people who have always known what is truly sacred in this world.”


What can you do?

Posted in no fossil fuels, solutions

Refueling our EV

So we got ourselves a electric vehicle, the smart fortwo coupe 13507087_10207747020931794_8761258531375557893_nwith electric drive, or the Smart ED.  Tiny, and powered by plugging into our outdoor outlet, which we’re led to believe, is supplied by mainly by Pennsylvania wind farms.

Refueling our EV has been an education about the car’s battery capacity, the charger and the charging rate.

The Smart ED has a battery capacity of 17.6 kW,

It also comes with an EVSE charger that you can plug into any 110V outlet. A button on this charger allows you to select between 8A and 12A based on the circuit.

The maximum charging rate for the Smart ED is 3.3 kW per hour. Most other cars, such as the Nissan Leaf, are designed to charge at a faster rate (6.6 kW per hour), while the Tesla charges at 19.2 kW per hour, almost 6 times faster.

Therefore, the theoretically fastest this car can charge is 5.3 hours on a 220V outlet or 10.6 hours on a 110V outlet.

capacity / rate = 17.6 kW / 3.3 kWh = 5.3 hours

If we’re to use a standard 110V outlet and the given charger, it would take between 13 and 20 hours to fully charge our car based on the amps selected.

110V x 8A = 0.88 kW per hour
17.6 kW / 0.88 kWh = 20 hours

110V x 12A = 1.32 kW per hour
17.6 kW / 1.32 kWh = 13 hours

If we installed a 220V outlet, and purchased a 220V charger, our refueling rate would go down to 6.6 hours.

220V x 12A = 2.64 kW per hour
17.6 kW / 2.64 kWh = 6.6 hours

For now, the 13-hour refueling rate seems adequate.

In the few days we’ve used this car, people have asked us another question. About the cost to refuel our EV. Our PECO bill (with electricity generation from The Energy Co-op’s EcoChoice 100 program) shows us paying about 18 cents per kWh. A full recharge (17.6 kW x 0.18 per kWh) would be $3.17 and take you 75 miles. That’s 4 cents per mile.

13576707_10209568355550269_2600144925251380969_oNot a bad price for declaring independence from the gas pump. Half the length, just as much fun. #fossilfuelfreefun, powered by the wind and the sun.

 

Posted in no fossil fuels, transition

Declaring independence from the gas pump

Since 2006, when I first took a group of over 20 friends to see Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth on opening night, I’ve been tracking my household’s carbon footprint.

Try as I might, I couldn’t get rid of the carbon dioxide emissions from our gasoline-fueled car. We switched from a minivan to a subcompact (a much smaller more efficient car), we tried driving less (this was hard), we even started an e-bike shop, but our personal car-based emissions remained around 6,000 pounds.

Last month, my partner mentioned leasing an electric car for $39 a month. Initially laughing this off, I agreed to consider a few electric cars. For a entertaining synopsis of the electric car market in the US, see the documentaries Who Killed the Electric Car? and the more recent Revenge of the Electric Car.

We first visited a Smart Car dealership. Then a Nissan Leaf dealership. Then a Kia Soul dealership. Each car was larger, more luxurious and more expensive than the last. The $39 a month deal evaporated.

I asked my friends, and friends of friends about their electric car experience. Here are a few…

  • Johanna, another Philadelphian with a smart fortwo electric drive for about a year and a half says: “I love it. No garage, and no driveway so we installed a charging station curbside. Our usual electrician did the work after getting a permit from L&I (Licensing & Inspection). We also applied to PPA (Phila Parking Authority) for a designated EV parking spot. Our EV gets about 75 miles to a charge, so it’s more than adequate for commuting to work, running errands, etc. The smart only takes 110 or 240 – aka level 1 and level 2 chargers.  it can’t take the level 3, so we can’t use this for long trips. Also, the range drops in winter, due to the cold weather sapping the battery, when I get about 45 miles to a charge. Our electricity at home is wind power from the energy co-op, so that sure beats using gasoline!”
  • Marion, a friend with a Nissan Leaf documented her experience in It’s a Leaf!
  • Kathy shared a story about a price conscious shopper chasing down his Nissan Leaf: Why I bought a new Nissan Leaf electric car 2 hours from home, 8500 net cost.
  • Mom’s Organic Market, I learned from Alison, offers their employees access to charge plug-in electric vehicles plus a 15% subsidy towards the purchase of a hybrid vehicle (up to $3,000) or electric car (up to $5,000). What a place to work, huh?
  • Dennis loves, loves, loves his Chevrolet Spark EV.
  • And John M, when he visits our bike shop, speaks well of his wife’s American made Chevrolet Volt (electric with gas backup) with curb-side charging station. And dreams of ordering a Chevy Bolt (all electric) for himself.
  • Robert, an electrician, has been busy installing charging ports through-out the city. It seems  plenty of other people are switching to fossil fuel free transportation.

Knowing our driving pattern, which was typically one person, sometimes two in a car; knowing we’re in a city with tight parking spaces – we decided on the smallest, most affordable car. The one with the most cute factor. The smart fortwo electric drive was it! Large Image (optional)_253

We’ve always purchased our cars and were ready to trade in our subcompact with only 42,000 miles for the smart fortwo electric drive. However, we learned that the Federal government offers a $7,500 tax credit for electric vehicles. Looking at our prior year tax return, we realized we probably wouldn’t qualify for this credit, and opted to lease the car instead. With the lease capping our usage at 10,000 miles per year, this seemed perfect since we’d only driven about 9,000 miles last year. With just a $150 per month lease, this felt so affordable that we’ve put down a deposit and await a call from the salesperson to come ’n get it!

By shifting from gasoline to electric, our fuel costs are expected to half. The Federal Government’s Fuel Economy page has a great comparison of various models.

What will this do to our household’s carbon footprint? Well, since our electricity is the EcoChoice100 from The Energy Co-op (100% renewable from PA wind), we’ve just shed those 6,000 pounds. Swoosh!

 

Posted in no fossil fuels

the people gather

On a warm Wednesday evening in May, a school cafeteria in Nicetown was filled with members of the community. They’d all come to hear the 350 Philadelphia team explain the proposed gas power plant at SEPTA’s nearby Midvale Bus Depot.

We’d read about this plan last fall, in articles by State Impact, the Inquirer and PlanPhilly.

Some in the local sustainability circle applauded this project because of the touted efficiency of a CHP (combined heat & power) project, where the heat generated by burning fossil fuels is used to, typically, heat water.

We, however, saw this as a build out of fracked gas infrastructure, adding to our dependency of this substance that’s toxic when it’s mined (fracking), toxic when it’s transported (pipelines) and toxic when it’s consumed.

So we began going to SEPTA board meetings, even spoke at some of them, met with SEPTA management, began speaking with people in the neighborhood, built a website with some of our research and a petition, and yesterday, organized the above community forum.

af9308_d40ff45492a74636919b988a8a4df85c~mv2

Speakers were Zak Powers, a teacher at Wissahickon Charter School; Mitch Chanin of 350Philadelphia, and Natasha Bagwe of Physicians for Social Responsibility in Philadelphia.

From the media, we noticed WHYY & NBC 10, with representation from Tioga United, the 13th Ward, Friends of Fernhill Park, Southwest Germantown Neighbors, Allegheny West Foundation, the Transport Worker’s Union, the Penn Knox Neighborhood Association, Citizens Climate Lobby, Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light, Veterans for Clean Air, and more!

The Q&A period was lively and the networking that happened afterward was dynamite. A sampling of the questions raised & answered as we talked into the night…

  • Does SEPTA have an industrial hygienist? Or someone in occupational health? On the Board?
  • Who is measuring air quality?
  • Are they storing any natural gas on site?
  • Is there an alternate location, if this proposal is withdrawn? Or prevented from building in Nicetown?
  • What happens at the end of the 20 year contract between SEPTA and Noresco? why a 20 year contract?
  • Is there a pipeline? Do we know the location? How would this affect the particulate matter and relate to the energy hub?
  • What would SEPTA pay Noresco for the electricity generated by the plant?
    • There is a fixed rate for 5 years. It’s not clear, but we do know that the price will not be fixed after the initial 5 years. Another response: That sounds like an adjustable rate mortgage to me!  (Audience laughed)
  • Has SEPTA considered a renewable energy plant instead?
    • They looked at  solar panels 5 years ago. The cost of solar has dropped 50% since then.
  • Why are they so keen on a natural gas plant?
  • I live near here on Mannheim Street. What SEPTA is doing sound’s like environmental racism.  We’ve had our share in Nicetown. Montgomery County / Lower Merion tried to store their buses with their diesel fumes here a few years ago, tried and failed. Now SEPTA wants to build a gas power plant near 3 schools! They did not have the courtesy to talk to us. How arrogant. I see children going by everyday with asthma. We need to have meetings about this in every school and community meeting place.
  • Why is SEPTA not coming out to talk with residents?
  • Is there in independent impact study? A financial impact study?
Questions? Contact the team of volunteers at 350philadelphia@gmail.com.

Originally written for 350Philadelphia, and published on their blog. -meenal

 

Posted in clean renewable energy, no fossil fuels, solutions, transition

Solar in the Northwest

I’ve been hearing about solar panels since I was in high school, over 3 decades ago. But yesterday, as a member of the Northwest Philadelphia Solar Co-op, I interviewed a Mt Airy couple who have had solar panels on their roof for a year and a half now. Both were eager to talk about their experience.

They raved about their installers. Showed me their 2 electric meters; one for electricity coming from PECO and the second one added to track the electricity that their rooftop was pushing back onto the grid. bud-n-mollie-1

I asked where all their other equipment was that I’d read about: the inverters and batteries and such. And realized that when a solar installation is grid-tied (meaning not off-the-grid), it’s a lot less involved. All they had were the 13 panels on the roof, and the second meter. No other equipment on the porch or basement.

For 7 months of the year, I learned, this system produces in excess of the household’s consumption. During this time (April thru October), their bill is about $7 per month. The other 5 months, it triples to about $20 per month.

They have monitored their production and consumption via an online application, and once noticed a spike in their usage. Concerned that someone was tapping into their system, they drilled into the data and discovered usage during one month, in the wee hours of the night.  A month that coincided with a visit from their teenage granddaughter with all her electrical devices!

When asked why they invested in this solar installation, it was simply… Why, for the common good! Sitting on their serene back porch, I realized the beauty of this. There was no need to explain the horrifying effects of climate, nor of the immediacy of action required.

Weavers Way Co-op and The Shalom Center have teamed up to get solar-coop2more solar installed in Northwest Philadelphia, by forming the Northwest Philadelphia Solar Co-op, explained on the flyer here. We all benefit from increased reliance on renewable energy and it is important to develop community-based initiatives that increase its use.

Know that a solar photo-voltaic (PV) system generates clean electricity using a free energy source that will never run out and never go up in price. The fuel requires no mining, no drilling, no mountain-top removing and no transporting, doesn’t require burning or processing, and is never in danger of spilling, emitting, or polluting. In fact, the clean energy produced by your solar energy system emits no greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and helps reduce global climate change and our dependence on fossil fuels and the volatile fossil fuel market. As with all manufacturing, there is some waste in that process.

When will solar become the norm, so that every Philly structure with the solar potential achieves this potential? To get to this tipping point, we’re sharing stories from people who already have solar installed at their home or workplace. Each installation will be summarized on a Solar Facts sticker, shown below, for easier comparison.

As you’ll see, the 30% Federal tax credit really made this investment affordable and economical. I remember when we got an estimate 11 years ago, a 2kW system was priced at $18,000. And there was no Federal or State incentive that we could apply for. That’s going from $9 per watt to $2.8 per watt!  With the industry scaling up, and government policies to support & encourage us all, this one example looks to be a third cheaper than what we were quoted.

solar facts

Want to join NPSC? Or simply share your story? Please contact NPSC via Barbara Bloomfield at (215) 247-9204 or barbbloomfield2 [at] aol.com.

What is it that’s keeping people from installing solar on their rooftop? Some of the responses we’re heard are:

  • We’re tenants.  Have your landlord contact NPSC.
  • We’re in a condo. Have your condo association contact NPSC.
  • We have plenty of sun, but are short on cash. The Northwest Philadelphia Solar Co-op is looking at financing, perhaps thru the Free Loan Association of Germantown (FLAG). Please contact NPSC.
  • We have too many trees and not enough sun. No solar potential. I hear you. Keep the trees. Maybe you’d like to lend through the Free Loan Association of Germantown for other solar installations.

The Earth needs YOU!