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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.

Interested in being on the MAREA 2015 Board of Directors? Let us know!
  It’s time to assemble MAREA’s 2015 Board of Directors. 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!

Kind regards,
MAREA Board 2014
CONTACT: [themarea@gmail.com]

Event Announcements
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.

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.

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.

  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]

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]

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
**Please follow signs for parking and entrance to room location**

7:00 p.m. Tuesday, October 28, 2014
"Turning Residential Electric Heaters into a Grid Asset"
A residential transactive energy application in Pennsylvania

Jessica Smith and Ron Mixell of VCharge

What if your heating system were not just a passive residential electric load but was actively providing grid services as it was heating your home? That’s exactly what’s happening with specially controlled residential electric thermal storage (ETS) heaters throughout Pennsylvania.

ETS heaters convert electricity to thermal energy, which is stored in the form of hot ceramic bricks - almost like a “heat battery.” A third party communicates with these heaters via the Internet to turn them on and off remotely, “charging” them at times that make sense given the wholesale energy prices and weather forecast. This type of energy load, one that is responsive to economic or other signals, is termed
“[transactive energy].”
Here’s a good read:["Transactive Energy: The Next Big Deal for the Smart Grid?"]

Speaking at our October meeting will be Jessica Smith and Ron Mixell of
[VCharge], a Rhode Island-based startup that currently controls thousands of residential ETS heaters in Pennsylvania, totaling 3MW of controllable load.

The talk will cover the basics of how electric thermal storage heaters work and explain how residential ETS heaters can be aggregated for use as a grid asset. The presentation will describe VCharge’s experiences with ETS heaters in Pennsylvania specifically, including regulatory and technical hurdles.

Ron Mixell is Director of PA Operations for VCharge and Jessica Smith is Marketing Content Manager.

Hope you can join us for what promises to be a discussion of an important emerging technology. This will also be our last meeting of 2014, hard to believe!
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]

Upcoming Tuesday Night Topics
October 28, Electric Thermal Storage, PPL Project in East Stroudsburg PA
See [Hiding a 15 MWh Battery in Plain Sight] Jessica Smith, VCharge
November & December, no MAREA meeting. Happy Holidays!

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]