In case you missed our kickoff party last week…

In case you couldn’t make it to our kickoff party last week…here’s what you missed!

Several members of our Board were present, notably Arthur Waskow, Barb Bloomfield,  Chris Hill, Meenal Raval & Peter Winslow, plus Cheryl Pyrch, Pastor of Summit Presbyterian Church and Chair of Philadelphia chapter of Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light.

Barbara opened up the P’Nai Or space inside Summit Church with a nice spread of snacks. We were honored to have Arthur’s presence for the opening as well as the closing, and for bringing us all together.

Our guest speaker was Anya Schoolman of Community Power Network (CPN) in DC. Anya’s passion was infectious, as she shared how her organization was formed, initially as Mt Pleasant Co-op, then DC-SUN (Solar United Neighborhoods).

We spoke of our recent decisions…

  • to bring together people in Northwest Philadelphia to buy into rooftop solar;
  • to work on clean energy advocacy at the City & State level;
  • to help folks who can’t install solar on their roofs to still participate; perhaps initially with a local lending club to assist others to solarize and later, with community solar where they could invest in solar on someone else’s rooftop (or parking lot) and still get credited on their electric bill.
  • to working with CPN, which is a non-profit supporting multiple communities engaged in adding solar to their homes. That perhaps over next next few months, we could morph into a Philly-SUN.
  • to working with Exact Solar on the first round of installations while we learned about the industry, coordinating a weekly check-in, and a pledge towards collaborative problem solving.

We also spoke of our need to build teams for

  • Outreach – to speak at community events and recruit more people
  • Roof Assessment – to see if roof of an interested participant could indeed be viable for solar
  • Bid Selection – for a later stage
  • Loan Committee / Legal – for our neighborhood lending program, because we want no rooftop left behind, especially for lack of funding.

And  of the history of local solarization projects…

  • Solarize Northwest – Organized by Clean Air Council and the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadephia in January of 2015, in partnership with solar contractors Exact Solar and Solar States, this resulted in about 15 homes in the Northwest getting solarized. One resident who participated in this and has rooftop solar on her home, was present tonight.
  • Solarize Greater Media – Organized by Transition Town Media and Solar States this Spring of 2016, about 50 households signed up. More about this effort is found here. Sari Steuber, the President of Transition Town Media was present to share their experiences. Of note is that about 30% of the households were denied inter-connection by PECO because of antiquated lines. PECO needs to prepare for more and more people demanding clean energy.
  • and lastly, Solarize Center City has their kickoff event coming up on Wednesday Oct 5, 2016. It’s organized by Center City Residents Association and Solar States. Read about it here, and if you’re a Center City resident reading this, please plan on attending by registering here.

Also present were…

  • Ron Celentano of Celentano Energy Services and Pennsylvania Division of MSEIA (Mid-Atlantic Solar Energy Industries Association. Ron suggested we support a campaign; that of Vera Cole for State Rep in Bucks County, who has worked tirelessly at the MAREA, the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Association.
  • Robert Monk of Solar States
  • Eileen Flanagan and Duncan Wright of Earth Quaker Action Team, who spoke of their campaign to push PECO to power local green jobs, notably to build up PV installations within Philadelphia.
  • Rita Varley, a resident of Far Northeast Philadelphia was present. Rita mentioned comparing her electric bill with her neighbors this past very hot summer (hers was $50, theirs was about $250), and now has their interest in how she acheived this. We’ve been asked to perhaps speak on energy conservation, insulation & draft sealing, with their civic association.
  • and about 13 neighbors considering solar! We tried to field the questions bubbling up, and agreed to meet again, as a smaller group to work on roof assessment.

Meenal will be learning about roof assessment from Exact Solar this week, and plans to share her learnings with interested neighbors the following week.

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