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Going Solar! Navigating the options for bringing clean energy to your home

May 31, 2016 @ 7:00 pm

Going Solar! Navigating the options for bringing clean energy to your home

Vera Cole, Penn State Energy and Sustainability Policy

BIG NEWS: At the time this meeting was scheduled, the 30% Federal Tax credit for solar was set to expire in 2016. Unexpectedly and incredibly, Congress renewed this important tax credit on the very last day of 2015 session, extending it for years!

There’s never been a better time to “go solar” for the environment, security and your wallet, and there’s never been more ways to do it. If you’ve already gone solar, great and thank you! This meeting is for you too, see info and special invitation below.

There are many ways to add solar electric generation at your own home or small business, including purchasing and owning a photovoltaic (PV) system outright, financing a system, leasing a system, and PPAs (“power purchase agreements”), where you agree to buy the electricity from a PV system on your site. You can also opt to choose a clean energy supplier and have solar electricity delivered to you by your utility company, still helping the environment even with no installation on your site.

And, you may also choose to have, or add, battery backup so that your place will continue to run using your solar panels, even when the grid is out.

At our May meeting, MAREA board member Vera Cole will give an overview of ways to go solar and offer an array (ha!) of resources to support your planning, decision making and experience with solar. These resources include the introduction of several new initiatives from MAREA to support a regional community of solar owners and supporters. We look forward to your input!

INVITE TO SOLAR OWNERS: If you’ve already gone solar, we’d love for you to share a few pictures of your PV system with the MAREA audience, give a brief description and take a few questions. As we learned from the Solar Tour last fall, there’s nothing like learning from friends and neighbors about their experience going solar! If you’re willing to share your PV experience (own, lease or PPA), please send an email to [masked] and we’ll get back to you with next steps. If you’ve chosen to have clean energy delivered through your utility company, we’d love to hear from you too. Many thanks! Please drop us a note.

Vera Cole is Lead Faculty for the Energy and Sustainability Policy program at Penn State. She’s a long time MAREA board member and has worked on many solar education, workshop and advocacy projects. She wrote the Pennsylvania Homeowners Guide to Solar, compiled the report PA Sunshine Counts summarizing results of the PA Sunshine Rebate Program (after self-lawyering and winning a Right-To-Know case in Commonwealth Court against the PA DEP for release of data), co-instructs with Bill Hennessy the Solar Energy Camp at the Sustainable Energy Fund’s annual Energypath event, and advocates for solar and energy efficiency at every opportunity, including appearances on NPR’s All Things Considered (Solar Advocates Fight Utilities Over Grid Access) and Radio Times (The Latest in Solar Energy Developments Nationally and Locally).

We hope you can join us on Tuesday, May 31 at 7:00 at TEKPark (9999 Hamilton Boulevard, Breinigsville, PA 18031, between Kutztown and Allentown). Meetings are free and open to the public. After the meeting, please plan to stick around and chat with friends old and new. Light snacks will be served. Hope to see you there!

For questions, contact Vera Cole, [masked].

Interested in being on the MAREA Board of Directors? Let us know!

If you have time, energy and ideas to contribute to MAREA’s work, we’d love to hear from you! Here are details…

All MAREA board members share a deep commitment to renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable living demonstrated in our daily lives. But beyond this, we are all different. Each board member contributes in his or her own way. If you think you may be interested in serving on MAREA’s board, please just drop us a note describing relevant experience or active interest you may have in areas like…

·  Renewable energy technology, application

·  Sustainable living, including agriculture

·  Policy analysis & making (local, state, federal)

·  Energy efficient construction, technology and practices

·  Grid management, infrastructure

·  Alternative transportation

·  Non-profit organization management

·  Communication, outreach, social media

·  Fund raising, grant writing

·  Event planning and management

·  Information technology (web, database)

·  Video, photography

Feel free to include a resume, articles, photos or any other info you think will help us understand what you are all about. It is not required that you have prior Board experience, a particular educational background or specific professional status. Each inquiry will be evaluated on an individual basis. Your submission will be treated confidentially and shared only with current board members. MAREA will respond to every application with interest and appreciation, but please know there are a limited number of openings and all that apply may not be accepted.  

Board positions are for one year and unpaid. We meet the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 in Kutztown PA. Members need to be able and willing to attend at least most of these meetings. If you are at a distance, please don’t let this stop you—we may be able to arrange car pools or use technology to bridge the gap. Thanks! The amount of time committed is up to individual members and kept manageable.

If you have questions and would like to talk with a current board member, please drop us an email with your contact information and we will give you a call. Thanks for your interest. We hope to hear from you!

CONTACT: [masked]

Need a gift…but don’t want to buy stuff?

If you’d like to make a donation to MAREA or buy someone a membership as a gift, let us know and we’ll handle the acknowledgement thoughtfully, by email or paper mail, with your input. Drop us a note at [masked]. And remember, all new memberships get a free copy of the DVD, “Saving Sunshine”!

Free DVD with MAREA membership  While supplies last, all new and renewing MAREA members will receive a free copy of “Saving Sunshine, Keeping the Lights on with Batteries and Solar Power,” the 30-minute DVD produced by MAREA this year with funding from the Berks Community Foundation and distributed by Bullfrog Films. It’s terrific film, offering an interesting and easily understood explanation of the electricity grid and distribution generation, especially the role of batteries with solar. MAREA is a 501(c)3 non-profit. Donations and memberships are how we keep the lights on. You can join at the meeting or anytime online. Thanks for your help. 


TEK Park
9999 Hamilton Blvd.
Breinigsville, PA 18031 us


Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Association (eastern PA)