Live in the Northwest? Have a sunny roof? Wondering how to harvest that roof to generate your own electricity?
We invite you to consider joining our second buying group. It’s in full swing now, with Solar States as our selected installer. We have secured excellent group pricing, with price breaks at 5, 10 and 15 households.
Having educated over 40 households about their options with rooftop solar in just the last couple of months, we’re confident we can answer yours as well!
Call Meenal at 267.709.3415 or write firstname.lastname@example.org or look for us at these upcoming events in the neighborhood…
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.
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. ReadMarion & Dave Brown’s experience; then readChrys Brown’s experience, both shared in theWeavers Way Shuttle. Then, buy local!
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…
Press Release: Solar installer selected for second buying group in Northwest Philadelphia, Installations to start in September
Philadelphia, August 10, 2017 — Buoyed by the success of their first buying group, the Northwest Philadelphia Solar Co-op is poised to double their membership with their 2nd buying group. After reviewing competitive bids from other local solar installers, they have decided to work with Solar States for their bulk buying group. Joining a buying group results in about 10% lower price for the turnkey systems for area homeowners.
“We received three excellent responses to our request for proposals,” NPSC Board Member Marion Biddle said. “All were local installers with excellent customer reviews. The decision to go with Solar States was based on competitive pricing, a strong local job development program, company size, as well as support for unsecured loans to help people invest in solar.”
Formed last September by three local organizations — The Shalom Center, the Philadelphia Chapter of Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light, and Weavers Way Food Co-op — the Northwest Philadelphia Solar Cooperative is building on the community’s interest in clean energy. Their first buying group was organized in February with a dozen households. The newly installed rooftop systems are being monitored on smart phones, and members are seeing super low electric bills during this record-breaking hot summer.
“This is a great opportunity to grow our community,” Northwest Philadelphia resident and solar panel owner Peter Winslow said. “If you had the opportunity to decrease pollution and bring good-paying jobs to your neighbors, you’d take it.”
The solar energy industry is expected to add jobs at a faster pace than any other energy sector. Currently, the solar industry employs 100 people in the Philadelphia region and produces only 1% of the region’s electricity needs. However, solar has the potential to employ 4,000 workers and supply more than 20% of the area’s power.
Consumers benefit from going solar. Solar panels increase property values, resulting in overall savings within seven to ten years of their installation, while the house becomes part of the clean energy revolution. There is still a 30% federal tax credit to take advantage of and lower the installation cost.
One of the main reasons scientists and environmentalists like renewable energy sources like solar is that they greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions–substantially slowing climate change–as well as improve air quality and public health outcomes.
“Renewable energy is the future,” NPSC treasurer Meenal Raval said. “And we’re doing what we can to make it a bright one.”
So far there are over 30 households considering having solar panels installed through the Co-op. Area homeowners interested in adding solar panels to their home should contact Meenal Raval or Marion Biddle at email@example.com, or come to an informational meeting on Monday August 14th at 7pm at 555 Carpenter Lane, Philadelphia with a recent PECO bill in hand! More at nwphillysolarcoop.com.
It’s time we declared independence from the Fossil Fuel industry. They’re killing the planet while raking in mega profits. How to walk away from them? Many of us are discovering that we can generate our own electricity from rooftop solar, and meet all of our energy needs by that same clean electricity. To heat & cool our homes, to cook with, for our appliances, and for getting around.
Think you can’t install solar because you have a flat roof? They’re actually great for solar, as are roofs that face somewhat south.
We’re neighbors, and waiting to wean you off dirty energy!
You’re invited to one of our upcoming member meetings.
When? 7pm on Monday July 10th & Monday July 17th Where? 518 Carpenter Lane, down the street from Weavers Way Food Co-op
It’s ideal if you come with a recent PECO bill in hand or on your phone. You’ll learn how we use this to size your system.
Can’t make the meeting? Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can offer you a back-of-envelope cost estimate.
About us – We’re the NW Philly Solar Co-op, educating and encouraging people to install solar on their rooftops. We organize people into buying groups. And we even make it easy for folks to advocate for clean energy policies. To date, we’ve formed one buying group, and most of the households already have the systems installed. We’re currently organizing our second buying group.
We offer an initial roof assessment & a back-of-the-envelope estimate for a rooftop solar installation that could generate most of your electricity needs. You save money in the long run, and reduce your carbon footprint right away.
Our timeline – On June 30th, we invited 5 area installers to bid for our next buying group. By July 31st, we expect to have decided on an installer. We will work with this installer to get a better roof assessment, cost estimate, and to streamline the installation process should you wish to proceed. Expect to get proposals in August and installation in September.
One of the most common questions asked us is… Is my neighborhood considered part of the Northwest? Yes! For our second group, we have interested households from Mt Airy, Germantown, Chestnut Hill, Roxborough & West Oak Lane, and also from the bordering suburbs of Ambler & Wyndmoor.
This bill would “close the borders” on PA’s solar renewable energy credit purchases; i.e. our utilities would need to purchase required solar-generated electricity from in-state projects, instead of the current procurement from Virginia & North Carolina.
The Environmental Justice Center at Chestnut Hill United Church has been working for years to slow climate change. Although climate disruption will hurt almost all sectors of the natural and human worlds, the Center recognizes that those at the margins of society – the elderly, the very young, the medically fragile, the poor – will be disproportionately and unjustly harmed. Thus, addressing climate change is a moral imperative for the Center and its host organization, Chestnut Hill United Church.
Recognizing that current political leadership in Washington is not likely to take any meaningful actions soon to promote clean energy, which avoids the pollution of fossil fuel energy and slows climate disruption, the Environmental Justice Center is encouraging individuals to do more to lower their carbon footprints. “We are distraught that President Trump has chosen to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord,” said Joy Bergey, the Center’s director. “While we will keep the pressure on our elected leaders to move us towards a clean energy economy – the only ethical choice, we also want to help community take their energy future into their own hands, as it were.”
To that end, the Center is partnering with Northwest Philly Solar Co-op to help residents learn what’s involved in putting solar panels on the roof. The Solar Co-op is working with solar installers to arrange neighborhood-by-neighborhood buying groups. This will result in lower prices and a more streamlined process for everyone involved.
According to Meenal Raval, the co-op’s coordinator, a group of twelve Mt. Airy households has formed the first neighborhood buying group, with solar panels being installed on all these properties, with a cumulative carbon reduction of 55.8 metric tons. Raval says, “We’re actively forming more groups in Northwest Philly neighborhoods, and we’re eager to create groups in the nearby suburbs like Cheltenham, Erdenheim, Ambler, and Lafayette Hill.”
“Come learn about what’s involved in getting rooftop solar on your home. We’ll discuss what makes a good site for solar panels, as well as issues like pay-back periods and available tax breaks.”
The group will meet on Sunday, June 25 2017 at 11:30 at Chestnut Hill United Church, 8812 Germantown Avenue (directly across from the Women’s Center.) There’s no cost to attend, and all are invited.
Ever wondered how much electricity you use in a year? For those of you who get a paper bill from PECO each month, turn to page 2.
At the bottom right, you’ll see Total Annual kWh Usage; 4,896 in the example above.
This accounts for the seasonal swings in each month’s usage. This is also the number I monitor after replacing any electrical appliance with a newer, more efficient one. Within a month or two, I usually see this number go down!
When planning to install rooftop solar, we again refer to the annual usage, building a system that generates close to your current usage.
So, if you’re in the market for any new power tools, we recommend you consider the battery-powered ones. Sure, we’re all used to the cordless drill.
Last spring, we bought a Kobalt brand lawnmower from Lowes, and more recently a chain saw that uses the same type of battery. Home Depot has a variety of models, also.
Our lawnmower has been great. It has a battery that lasts for about an hour and only takes 30 minutes to recharge. We got two batteries, which means, in theory, I could mow forever! I tend to let the grass get way too long, but the lawnmower has had no problem cutting right through. Don’t believe anyone that says battery powered lawnmowers are not up to the task.
I cannot comment yet on the chain saw, as we haven’t managed to get outside to use it, yet, but I’ll let you all know as soon as we do. Bottom line is – no more gas can in the garage or on the side of the house.
We currently buy our electricity from The Energy Coop, so we know it’s all from the wind and sun. Once we get our solar panels this summer, our lawn mower will be powered by our very own house.
One issue with installing rooftop solar is the pre-existing condition of the roof.
Even though rooftop panels extend the life of a roof, it’s better to begin with a roof that’s newish, or in good condition. So, in the past few months, several people ended up calling in a roofer while we were together analyzing their solar proposals.
Some of these people have decided to tackle the roof first, and the solar
panels… maybe the following year. Some other people asked us… since there’s a 30% federal tax credit for rooftop solar, could this also apply to the roofing job? The answer is “maybe.”
The page explaining the Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit does not specifically mention roofs. It states that “expenditures include labor costs for on-site preparation, assembly or original system installation, and for piping or wiring to interconnect a system to the home.” Some people consider the new roof, or some part of it, to be on-site preparation.
“Qualified solar electric property costs are costs for property that uses solar energy to generate electricity for use in your home located in the United States. No costs relating to a solar panel or other property installed as a roof (or portion thereof) will fail to qualify solely because the property constitutes a structural component of the structure on which it is installed. The home doesn’t have to be your main home.”
Not very clear, we agree. One of our co-op members called up his accountant who interpreted the above as…If there’s a structural concern with installing panels on a roof; or there’s a prerequisite repair before the panels can go up; and both jobs are within a reasonable time frame, which we interpret to be within a month or so of each other; then the cost of the roof repair could also, in effect, be reduced by 30% from the tax savings.
As to whether the whole roofing job, or just the area beneath the panels is eligible, we suggest using your own judgement when filing. Be reasonable.
If in doubt, please check with your tax advisor. And know that we are not tax advisors, and therefore not liable for this advice.
In this member’s case, the roof didn’t need to be replaced. And he will happily get to include the repairs along with the solar job when he files his 2017 returns.
Currently, we get to reduce our taxes by 30% of the cost of a solar installation. Know that the longer you wait, the more likely that this encouragement will disappear. Here you can see a timeline for the tax credit for homes with solar electric installations, also known as photo-voltaic systems.
30% for systems placed in service by 12/31/2019
26% for systems placed in service during 2020
22% for systems placed in service during 2021
No plans yet for systems placed in service after 2021