How to Get Involved
Northwest Philly Solar Co-op wants to help more homeowners to go solar by exploring group discounts for installation. Visit www.nwphillysolarcoop.com for more information.
by Herb Levine, for the Shuttle
The Northwest Philly Solar Co-op recently announced the completion of its first buying group, formed with 12 households in Northwest Philadelphia. The group consists of one household from Chestnut Hill, two from Roxborough and nine from Mt. Airy.
The economic idea behind NPSC is that neighbors who form a collective buying group can get a lower-than-market price for home solar installation.
NPSC was recently awarded a technical assistance grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to explore how to create a neighbor-to-neighbor lending fund to enable local investments in rooftop solar on a neighbor’s rooftop. Another avenue of the Co-op’s work is encouraging local faith-based institutions and businesses to solarize.
Additionally, NPSC engages in solar advocacy, attending meetings and petitioning PECO and the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to remove regulatory hurdles that are in the way of increasing the use of solar energy.
Together, the households in this inaugural buying group expect to generate 79,345 kilowatt hours of electricity each year. According to the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator, this amount of solar energy use should reduce the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by 55.8 metric tons annually. This electricity generation is also equivalent to the carbon sequestered by 1,445 tree seedlings grown for 10 years. That’s a lot of trees to plant and care for!
NPSC (pronounced “knapsack”) kicked off in September 2016, emerging from discussions at three local organizations: PA Interfaith Power and Light, The Shalom Center and the Weavers Way New Economy Incubator Committee. Any neighbor can become a member of NPSC for $25. If you would like to learn if your house is suitable for solar energy, you can send your address to NPSC for an assessment. If it is found to be suitable, you may want to consider joining the next coop that is currently being formed.
A map on NPSC website shows “Who’s Gone Solar” (www.nwphillysolarcoop.com/whos-gone-solar). If you have already solarized and don’t see your project there, please send in your address and system capacity (typically in kW) so it can be included in the map and in the calculation of cumulative impact. Send a photo of your project, too, if you want it to be included on the map.
Founding board member and treasurer Meenal Raval is the contact person for NPSC. Contact her at email@example.com or 267-709-3415.