renewable energy


by Betsy Reinstein DeweySolar City logo

I have a confession to make: I don’t have solar panels on my house.

I can make a million excuses (well at least 3 or 4), but the bottom line is that I just haven’t made it a priority. Do I feel guilty about this? Clearly. But that is about to change.

Recently I met some young people whose passion for accessing power from the sun brought them to Montgomery County to work for Solar City, the largest provider of rooftop solar systems in the country. They are on a mission to bring solar power to as many homes in our area as possible. Rather than selling the panels to customers, with their new program, Solar City will pay for the panels as well as all the costs of the installation, maintenance and support. So I can go solar at no cost to me. In fact my monthly utility bills will go down. Better yet, I don’t have to do any of the legwork. It’s hassle-free!

It took them about 2 minutes to show me my house on Google maps (their first step to see if you’re a good candidate) and then to tell me approximately how much I’ll save on my monthly electric bills. How it works is that the power that is generated goes into the grid and is “owned” by Solar City, since they will own the panels on my roof. I get to buy back the electricity I need at a set rate, which is actually lower than what I’m currently paying.

If you’re considering solar panels, take note: Solar City will donate $250 to Bethesda Green for every no-obligation site survey, whether or not you decide to proceed with installation — a green win-win-win.

So I set up a date for an engineer to come to my house to do a site survey. I have to admit I was a bit skeptical, because it all seemed too good to be true, but there really is no catch. Everything about the visit was pleasant, professional, quick and easy. He took measurements, photos and made assessments of my roof, and was able to give me an idea of how much solar my house would likely produce. Then he took this information back to the company so they can produce a custom design for my home. I’m looking forward to seeing the design they recommend. But here’s the best part. Whether or not I decide to contract with Solar City, they have agreed to make a donation of $250 to Bethesda Green for my site survey and for every site survey that comes through a Bethesda Green referral.

There’s no hard sell and no obligation. So if you decide to have your roof checked out, you’ll not only be doing something good for the planet, you’ll also be responsible for a donation of $250 to Bethesda Green. To me, this sounds like a green win-win-win.

If you’re interested in learning more or setting up an appointment, contact Danielle Kruse at dkruse@solarcity.com and be sure to mention Bethesda Green!

Betsy Reinstein Dewey is the Bethesda Green Development Officer.

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BGnews_logoPoolesville Builds Solar Array

The Town of Poolesville recently completed construction of a 1.1 megawatt solar array station, according to an article published in The Monocacy Monocle, which will cover electricity costs for the Town Hall, the water treatment plant, and five pump stations.  Joyce Breiner, executive director of Poolesville Green, said, “This achievement places Poolesville as a true action leader within the county and state, and sets an example for others to follow.”

State of Green Business 2014

The State of Green Business 2014, the seventh annual assessment of corporate sustainability trends and metrics released Feb. 21 by GreenBiz.com, paints a mixed picture.  The good news is the continuing evolution of corporate sustainability practices.  The bad news is that despite documented advancements, U.S. green house gas emissions for the five-year period between 2008 and 2012 were essentially unchanged.

Click here for more information and to get a free copy of the report.

A Bright Energy Future

Washington Post columnist David Ignatius weighed in on the state of U.S. energy production and anticipated future trends.  Without taking a political position on hot-button issues related to mining shale oil or extracting natural gas via fracking, he does point out that increased production in those areas has led to significant reductions in the use of coal and related carbon dioxide emissions.

The Ignatius column also touts the rapid increase in solar and wind energy production as part of the positive overall energy portfolio for the country.

See America’s Energy Boom column.

Events

  • Green Drinks Happy Hour in Wheaton — Thursday, January 23, 5 – 8 pm, Limerick Pub, 11301 Elkin St., Wheaton, MD 20902.
  • Climate Reality: Now the Truth is more than just Inconvenient — Friday, January 24, 7 – 8:30 pm, a discussion with University of Maryland Professor Sara Via at the Brightwell Crossing Model Home in Poolesville.
  • Maryland Showcase of Sustainability — Monday, January 27, 8 – 11 am, Weston Annapolis. This interactive and engaging event brings together change agents from across the state — including Bethesda Green Executive Director Dave Feldman and the team from Doo Consulting — who have created exciting and innovative programs in their communities, businesses or industries. Their work will be an inspiration to some, a beacon to others, and a call to action to the rest.  Click here for more info.