2008 Projects
2009 Projects
2010 Projects
2011 Projects
Visit us on Facebook and Twitter:
Donate to MAREA through Amazon.com
Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice. [LEARN MORE]
Join Our Email List
For Email Marketing you can trust
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.

Environmental discussions brighten winter days

Join us this winter for lively discussions of two works that seek solutions to world environmental issues through a combination of technical and ethical actions.
The Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Association (MAREA) has announced titles for its free book club discussions in January and February.
Discussions are from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Kutztown Community Library, 70 Bieber Alley, Kutztown, PA 19530.

For more information on the discussions, contact Bill Hennessy,
[bill@berkssolar.com] or call 484-560-4666
Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016

Garrett Hardin's,
"The Tragedy of the Commons"

The controversial Garrett Hardin essay, "Tragedy of the Commons", originally published in Science magazine in 1968, was subtitled, “The population problem has no technical solution; it requires a fundamental extension in morality.”

Hardin starts with an overview of population and the carrying capacity of the earth, but the short essay has morphed to provide something for everyone.

It has been published in more than 100 anthologies, has been cited 40,000 times in published works and a Google search of the term lists more than 1.2 million hits. Both the right and the left have used the essay to further their arguments, and scientists have spent time both disproving his conclusions and acknowledging them as a fundamental contribution to ecology, population theory, economics and political science.

In Hardin's writing, the commons are natural resources (land, water, air) open to all members of society. As the world population grows, the resources of the commons shrink in all cases - whether it's too many people, too much pollution from too many people or too little food for too many people. As a solution to the limits of the commons, the private sector has used his essay to justify ownership of land to produce food on what were once public resources. Others have supported his suggestion of regulation of the commons, whether it is land, water, air or population. Hardin suggests that society develop standards of "mutual coercion" to limit population growth.

In 1998, 30 years later after its initial publication, Hardin said he should have titled his work, "Tragedy of the Unmanaged Commons." www.sciencemag.org/content/280/5364/682.full

Hardin's influence is seen in Pope Francis's encyclical with references to the global commons and unfettered capitalism. www climateandcapitalism.com

Summaries of Hardin's essay include: [Wikipedia] and [Oceanworld]

A sample criticism of his work: [climateandcapitalism.com]

["Tragedy of the Commons" free download]

And thirty-five years after the essay appeared, [Science magazine devoted five issues] to Hardin's work

Garrett Hardin died in 2003. The Garrett Hardin Society is dedicated to the preservation of his writings and ideas. [www.garretthardinsociety.org]

For more information on the discussions, contact Bill Hennessy, [bill@berkssolar.com] or call 484-560-4666

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

[Download Information from Previous MAREA Presentations]

Upcoming Tuesday Night Topics

Tuesday, February 23- 7PM
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in PA:
Understanding the Federal Clean Power Plan and PA's Act 129

Rob Altenburg, Director, Energy Center at Penn Future

WIn August 2015, [President Obama announced] America’s Clean Power Plan, calling it the “single most important step America has ever taken in the fight against global climate change.” And, within 12 hours from when the regulations were published in the Federal Register, it became the most ["heavily litigated environmental regulation ever,"] as [twenty-nine states], along with many utility companies and energy industry groups, work to block the policy.

Wow. What is the Clean Power Plan (CPP) and why are so many acting so threatened? The CPP limits carbon dioxide emissions from electricity-generating power plants. These plants account for nearly 40% of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. The CPP will reduce these emissions by 32% in 2030, compared to 2005 levels. It does this by setting different targets for each state and then letting state present a plan for meeting its target.
Pennsylvania is not one of the states challenging the CP. The PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is working to formulate a state-level plan, choosing and defining a portfolio of strategies to meet the CPP goal for our state.

[PA DEP Secretary Quigley, says] "Cutting pollution from power plants, utilizing natural gas, supporting nuclear power plants, increasing the amount of renewable energy in Pennsylvania, and improving energy efficiency statewide all can fight climate change and be an economic driver. When our businesses upgrade power plants, install solar panels or improve energy efficiency, that’s a win for the environment and a win for Pennsylvania’s economy."

Exactly what will—or can--this plan mean for energy efficiency and renewable energy in Pennsylvania? What does it mean for other energy sources—coal, nuclear, natural gas? When will we see PA's plan? What is the timeline for rollout?

A recognized expert in climate change policy, Rob Altenburg, Director of the Energy Center at Penn Future will be speaking at our Feb 23 meeting to help us gain an accurate understanding of the CPP and what it means for Pennsylvania. Before joining Penn Future, Rob worked for the PA DEP as Air Quality Program Specialist and Executive Policy Specialist. In 2014, he was a contributing author to
[Evolution of U.S. Climate Policy, Global Climate Change and U.S. Law.]

And, while we have him, we've also asked Rob to give us a review and update of PA's 2008 Act 129, which requires that utility companies help consumers reduce their electricity consumption. This explains the rebates for appliances, lighting and windows; energy audits, and refrigerator recycling! What has been accomplished by this program so far? What are current goals? What does this Act mean for consumers and small businesses?

For questions, contact Vera Cole, [veracole@comcast.net].

Tuesday, May 31 - 7PM
"Happy New Year, Let the Sun Shine In!"

Vera Cole and Bill Hennessy, MAREA Board Members

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—on the very last day of 2015 session— [renewed this important tax credit], extending it for years! [DETAILS HERE]

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 January meeting, MAREA board members Vera Cole and Bill Hennessy will give an overview of ways to go solar and offer an array (yuk! yuk!) 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 this 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 [themarea@gmail.com] 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.

Bill Hennessy, owner of [Berks Solar], is a NABCEP –certified PV installer with years of solar installation and battery backup experience. Vera Cole is Lead Faculty for the [Energy and Sustainability Policy] degree at Penn State. Bill and Vera are both long time MAREA board members and have worked together on many solar education, workshop and advocacy projects.
We hope you can join us on Tuesday, January 26 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!

We hope you can join us on Tuesday, January 26 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!

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 [themarea@gmail.com].
And remember, all new memberships get a free copy of the DVD, "Saving Sunshine"!

Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture

PASA 25th Annual Farming for the Future Conference
[CLICK HERE] to read more and sign up.

Upodated Schedule [HERE]

Pennsylvania Climate Impacts Assessment [Comment thru Nov 4, 2015]

EPA’s Clean Power Plan—listening sessions; [Comment thru Nov 12, 2015]

Berks County Community Foundation [bccf.org]

Be safe on the roof.
MAREA has two never (or very slightly) used fall-protection-in-a bucket systems that we’d like to sell at good price.
[GUARDIAN 805 Bucket] (selling for $125) and a [Gemtor VP 811] (selling for $150). Available at the TEK Park meeting. If you can’t make it, drop us a note at themarea@gmail.com.
Cash or credit is fine. We’re required to charge sales tax, but no shipping
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.
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.

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.