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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.
The Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Association (MAREA) is offering the opportunity to see solar energy technologies and applications in the Berks and Lehigh County areas! On Saturday, April 16, from 10 AM to 3 PM, sites can be visited that range from a do-it-yourself solar hot water heater installation to a passive solar home that is 100% off-the-grid! For an up-to-date listing of homes, directions, and installation details.

[CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS AND LIST OF SITES]

If you have any questions on the solar home tour, please email
Joe Matisko at [joematisko@comcast.net]

MAREA completes solar hot water project
to help needy.
MAREA's solar hot water installation at Reading’s Opportunity House is complete!
This large system is expected to cut fuel costs and emissions by 50% and provide 100% of summertime hot water needs. The nonprofit Opportunity House offers round-the-clock childcare to support the working poor and provides emergency housing, three meals per day, and laundry facilities on a daily basis for needy men, women and children. The solar hot water installation (and related plumbing upgrades) was given to the shelter in full, with no cost to the Opportunity House for materials, labor or permitting. MAREA board member Tom Green, a mechanical engineer who works as Kutztown University’s Director of Campus Energy Services, led the project, working closely with fellow board member Bill Hennessy to coordinate the efforts of many skilled volunteers and local companies who donated expertise, equipment and materials. More details to come on this special project and its many generous contributors!

Interested in being on the MAREA Board of Directors? Let us know!
[CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO]

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
[DIRECTIONS]

[Download Information from Previous MAREA Presentations]


MAREA Book Discussion
May 12 6:30 to 8PM
at the Kutztown Community Library, 70 Bieber Alley, Kutztown, PA 19530.
The Ecology Of Commerce

Is business inherently evil and its environmental stewardship hopeless? Perhaps not, if we can reimagine commerce more fundamentally and in the context of sustainability instead of business as usual. Join us for a healthy exchange on the revised edition (2010) of The Ecology of Commerce by Paul Hawken. We will discuss some of the solutions Mr. Hawken suggests and how we can remove or change the obstacles that are keeping us from ecological commerce and a sustainable future.

The book discussion is coordinated by The Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Association (MAREA). The event is scheduled for May 12 6:30 to 8PM at the Kutztown Community Library, 70 Bieber Alley, Kutztown, PA 19530.


Upcoming Tuesday Night Topics
Tuesday, April 26
Batteries and Solar Electricity

Bill Hennessy, Berks Solar
AIn 1749, a few years before he flew his first kite, Ben Franklin brought the word "battery" to the world of electricity. One hundred years later, slavery supporter and anti-immigrant political candidate Samuel Morse used batteries to develop a long-distance telegraph. The new world of telecommunications left pigeons and the Pony Express with little to carry.

Former telegrapher Thomas Edison invented a nickel-iron battery to power electric cars. Edison encouraged one of his employees, Henry Ford, to develop an automobile, but Ford left the company, sticking with gasoline engines started by lead-acid batteries.

Another hundred years and industrialist Elon Musk is promising the world that the Tesla Powerwall--a lithium ion battery--will bring a new era of sustainable electricity to the world.

Though the fuel is always free, when the sun doesn't shine, solar power needs help. The Tesla battery pack is one of several systems that are rushing to establish the new age of solar power.

But technology developments are struggling to catch up with marketing promises. At its April 26 meeting, Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Association vice president Bill Hennessy will offer an overview of what's in store for storage in the next year.

Focusing on residential PV systems with battery storage, we'll take a look at the different technologies, what they cost and how they fit in a sustainable future.

We hope you can join us on Tuesday, April 26th 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!

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

Tuesday, May 31 - 7PM
"Going Solar! Navigating the options for bringing clean energy to your home"

Vera Cole, Penn State Energy and Sustainability Policy
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 [renewed this important tax credit] on the very last day of 2015 session, [extending it for years]!

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 May meeting, MAREA board member Vera Cole will give an overview of ways to go solar and offer an array (ha!) 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 last 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.

Vera Cole is Lead Faculty for the [Energy and Sustainability Policy] program at Penn State. She’s a long time MAREA board member and has worked on many solar education, workshop and advocacy projects. She wrote the Pennsylvania Homeowners Guide to Solar, compiled the report PA Sunshine Counts summarizing results of the PA Sunshine Rebate Program (after self-lawyering and winning a [Right-To-Know case] in Commonwealth Court against the PA DEP for release of data), co-instructs with Bill Hennessy the Solar Energy Camp at the Sustainable Energy Fund's annual [Energypath] event, and advocates for solar and energy efficiency at every opportunity, including appearances on NPR's All Things Considered [Solar Advocates Fight Utilities Over Grid Access] and Radio Times [The Latest in Solar Energy Developments Nationally and Locally].

We hope you can join us on Tuesday, May 31st 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!

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

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.
A
[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.
  [CHECK OUT SUNNYMONEY]

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.
  [READ MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT]
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 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.



   
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