2008 Projects
2009 Projects
2010 Projects
2011 Projects
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Our Mission
  The Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Association (MAREA) is a nonprofit organization, dedicated to informing and educating the public on renewable energy production, energy efficiency, and sustainable living through meetings, workshops, educational materials, and energy fairs.
Your membership makes these activities possible. If you can help, please
[Join MAREA]. The support is greatly appreciated and your dollars are used carefully.

MAREA Monthly Meetings, the More the Merrier!
Free and Open to the Public
(Always the last Tuesday of the month)

TEK Park, 9999 Hamilton Boulevard, Breinigsville, PA 18031-9300
Upcoming Tuesday Night Topics
7:00 p.m. Tuesday, March 31
""Distributed Energy Resources Enabled by the Smart Grid –
Opportunities in PJM’s Markets"

Susan Covino, Senior Consultant for Emerging Markets at PJM

Electricity. It’s always there & ready to go—plug something in, flip a switch and it works. Turn it off whenever you choose. No problem. Who makes sure this happens for us? Electricity is not easily stored, so, somehow, the power generation and power consumption must be closely matched, real time.

For our area, it is the [PJM Interconnection]. Headquartered in Valley Forge, PA, PJM is a regional transmission operator (RTO) responsible for managing continuous electricity flow for 61 million people in [13 states and the District of Columbia]. PJM’s primary purpose is grid reliability—to balance electricity supply and demand, manage weather impacts and perfect generation dispatch for North America’s largest transmission system. (Not everyone is served by an RTO, we’re lucky. There are [nine other RTOs] across the country managing about 60% of the power supply.)

The cost to generate electricity varies minute by minute, but of course the price we pay doesn’t. Our consumer prices are usually set for periods at a time. Others, however, are buying and selling electricity (and related products) in fast moving [wholesale markets], which are operated by PJM. It is in these markets that the forces of real time supply and demand play out to be sure that our electricity needs are met adequately and at, hopefully, the lowest cost possible.

At our March meeting, [Susan Convino] of PJM will explain to us how these wholesale markets work and give us an understanding of PJM’s role as Regional Transmission Operator for the Mid-Atlantic region’s bulk power system. She’ll describe market players (generators, regulatory, operators) in general, with special emphasis on Distributed Energy Resources (DER). DER is the umbrella term for a group of evolving customer-side technologies that can be aggregated to provide (or save) power necessary to meet demand, including energy efficiency, demand response, on-site renewable generation and on-site energy storage.

  Main points covered in this presentation--
  An understanding of the role and mission of PJM as Regional Transmission Operator for the Mid-Atlantic region’s bulk power system. The PJM market region includes all or part of 13 states and the District of Columbia.
  A summary of how Distributed Energy Resources (including Energy Efficiency, Demand Response, on-site Renewable resources, and on-site storage) can currently participate in PJM’s Energy, Capacity, and Ancillary Services markets. These markets are designed to ensure reliable wholesale power deliveries at the lowest possible cost. Examples of market value provided by load side resources will be shared. The presentation will also discuss the current challenge for DER posed by a May, 2014 U.S. Court of Appeals’ decision and PJM’s proposal for meeting this challenge.
  A vision of active, informed electricity customers enabled by Smart Grid technology and by PJM’s Price Responsive Demand (PRD) option.

The presentation will be appropriate for anyone interested in gaining a better understanding of how electricity markets work and the role of Distributed Energy Resources. It is not necessary that you have a background in this area. Ample explanation will be given for new topics and terms. Susan is a warm and friendly expert and looks forward to hearing our questions.

We hope you can join us for Susan Covino's talk on Tuesday, March 31 at 7:00 in Breinigsville, PA (between Kutztown and Allentown) at TEKPark. We are delighted to have her! You'll find detailed directions, [please see here]. Meetings are free and open to the public.

About Susan
Susan Covino is the Senior Consultant, Emerging Markets at PJM. She previously served PJM as the Manager for Demand Side Response. Ms. Covino previously served The New Power Company as a Director, Government Affairs covering New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, PJM, and FERC. Prior to that Ms. Covino was a Director, Government Affairs covering gas and electric matters for Enron in the mid-Atlantic and northeast regions of the U.S. Ms. Covino served as Vice President and General Counsel of KCS Energy Marketing, Inc. from 1992 to 1997. She began her career in the energy industry as a Staff Attorney for Elizabethtown Gas in 1978. She was graduated from Dickinson School of Law with a Juris Doctor degree in 1978 and from the University of Connecticut summa cum laude with a double major in economics and history in 1975. Ms. Covino is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. To learn more, see [Guest Interview with Susan Covino of PJM] from the Association for Demand Response & Smart Grid.
7:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 27
"Biomass Utilization: A Renewable, Versatile Pathway to Fuels and Chemicals"

Chuck Coe, Research Associate Professor in Chemical Engineering,
Villanova Universitye
7:00 p.m. Tuesday, May 26
"Bee Pollination Behavior: How it Impacts Human & Ecosystem Health,
the State of Bees and Strategies to Support Them"

Dr. Jordanna D.H. Sprayberry, Associate Professor of Biology & Neuroscience Muhlenberg College
After the meeting, plan to stick around and chat with friends old and new. We're also interested in your ideas for MAREA speakers, activities and services.
Light snacks will be served. Hope to see you there!
For questions, more information or to suggest a topic or speaker, contact:
Vera Cole: 215-258-0526 or veracole@comcast.net
[Information Available From Previous Talks]

Thinking about going solar? Resources for Homeowners & Small Businesses
"Solar Electricity for PA Homeowners" — Aug 2014 presentation slides
  If your organization would like a speaker on this topic, we’d be happy to help.
Please contact: [themarea@gmail.com]. [DOWNLOAD THE PRESENTATION]
On-Line Resources for those Considering Solar
  List of on-line resources to help you find an installer, estimate electricity generation, understand environmental value, consider financial aspects and more.
  [MAREA’s Recommended Resources]
SunnyMoney Residential Solar Electric Estimator
  Easy, on-line tool (updated 2014!) developed by MAREA to help Pennsylvania homeowners plan & budget for solar electric projects. Quick & accurate estimates for system size, electricity generation, savings, cost, Federal tax credit, environmental payback & more.

MAREA produces its first movie:
"Saving Sunshine"
Keeping the Lights on with Batteries and Solar Power”
In plain language, master electrician and solar installer Bruce Hankins explains AC Coupling, the combining of a grid-tied solar electric installation with an off-grid battery backup system. This technology, made possible through advanced electronics, offers benefits for all users of the entire electric system—both those with and without solar. Teachers, electricians, system installers, owners of grid-tied systems and solar advocates will find Hankins’ clear explanations in “Saving Sunshine” helpful in learning the specifics of an AC Coupled system and how it forms a local electric distribution system.
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. Thanks for your help.
[Watch the Trailer on YouTube]
[Read More and Purchase the DVD]

Event Announcements
Perpetual economic growth is neither possible nor desirable. Growth, especially in wealthy nations, is already causing more problems than it solves.
You are invited to sign the Center for Advancement of the Steady State Economy (CASSE) position statement in support of a sustainable, steady state economy with stabilized population and consumption. For full detail, please visit [TAKE A POSITION]. At the direction of its board, MAREA signed as an organization on Feb 17, 2015.

ATTN: New FEES & SIZE LIMITS for solar in PA?
Thanks to all who signed the petition to the PA PUC regarding proposed changes to net metering rules.

A 49-page document
(wow!) of signatures and comments has been submitted on your behalf. We’ll keep you posted.

Solar Advocates Fight Utilities Over Grid Access
  Across the country the solar industry is battling utilities over the financial details of feeding electricity from renewable resources back into the power grid.

Vera Cole, president of the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Association, a group arguing against proposed rules in Pennsylvania that would put stricter limits on how much grid-connected solar power homeowners can produce on their property.

Berks County Earth Day: Saturday, April 25th from 11am to 5pm at Riverfront Park on Riverfront Drive in Reading, PA. [READ MORE]

PA Sunshine Counts: Our Common Solar Wealth - July 2014
This report is an analysis of records obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for more than 7,000 solar electric systems receiving PA Sunshine Rebates, with detailed findings related to cost trends, system size, installation locations, component manufacturers, and installers.

In the interest of good solar, MAREA has chosen to provide this report at no charge to members and nonmembers alike. MAREA believes strongly that the more informed voices in the conversation the better the outcome.Thank you for reading this report.
MAREA is funded entirely though memberships, events, grants and donations. Your support is needed and genuinely appreciated.

  Solar Hot Water Benefits Homeless Shelter
  To help reduce monthly expenses for Opportunity House, a multi-service organization improving the quality of life for children, families and adults who face various obstacles to independent living in the Reading area, MAREA has spearheaded a project to install a solar hot water system on their main building.
Check out the Progress: [READING EAGLE 8-1-14] [WFMZ NEWS VIDEO]

Court Affirms Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Association’s Right to Know,
Orders DEP to Release Solar Data
September 18, 2012, Kutztown, PA A renewable energy organization's request for access to information regarding solar installations receiving rebates from the $100 million state [Sunshine Program] was recently upheld by the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania. [READ THE FULL RELEASE]

Community Projects & Workshops

MAREA conducts small group workshops on practical alternative energy projects throughout the year.
[Learn from experts in the field. MAREA members receive special discount on workshops]

MAREA Board Member Don Bucci talks about the benefits of a solar hot water system.
(Reading Eagle 2/10/2013)
Several decades ago, Don Bucci began heating domestic hot water at home using solar energy and still cherishes that original setup's benefits today. [READ THE FULL STORY]
MAREA President Vera Cole on electricity conservation (Allentown Morning Call (12/16/12)
The impulse to save electricity may have its roots in an environmentalist ethic, or it may stem from a simple urge to save money. [READ THE FULL STORY]
MAREA board member Anna Digate talks about recycling (Reading Eagle 12/17/12)
With gift-giving holidays approaching, wrapping paper and décor deserve a chance to be looked at in a greener way.

MAREA Educational Programs
MAREA is planning a series of two-hour workshops on possible topics that include, so far, solar electric design, solar hot water design, structural engineering for solar electric mounting systems, thermodynamics, commissioning solar electric systems, solar oven cooking, reducing electrical use in the home, all about RECs, considerations for commercial solar electricity installations, solar electricity for homeowners and wire crimping for solar installations. Whew! Let us know topics you would like covered and if there's a topic you, or someone you know, would like to instruct. Dates, locations and times will be announced soon. We expect them to be on Saturday mornings with a fee of around $45 for members. We're also nailing down plans for the next solar electric installation workshops. We'll send details as soon as they're available.
With ideas or questions, please contact
Bill Hennessy, 484-560-4666, bill@berkssolar.com.

Keep Up to Date with MAREA News
MAREA newsletters are now archived for viewing at any time.
[Read previous MAREA newsletters]