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April 17, 2008


Joe Deets

The author’s rather humbug commentary is the result of one article in the Review. The “Solar for Sakai” project is a grass roots community effort led by Community Energy Solutions, a new island nonprofit. For some time now we have been working with the BI School District, Sakai School and BIHS’s Earth Service Corp. It is indeed unfortunate that the Review didn’t bring up that the Earth Service Corp students delivered a petition to the School Board that night with 700 signatures supporting the project. Nor did it mention that the revenue generated from the electricity generated will be re-invested by the school into energy efficiency measures. As far as PSE’s involvement, we became aware of their solar for schools grant and jumped at the chance to win it. Although we asked for $20,000, it looks like we will get about half of that. That money will go towards design, permitting, 1.1 KW worth of PV installation and on-line signage. With the support of the community we intend to do much more than that. The author makes a good point in asking whether the utility company should be doing more. His overall approach in fact seems to be that we should wait for someone else to do something. We tried that and it doesn’t work. So lets look at what is happening here: a grass roots community effort has begun to create a long lasting solar energy system for one of our schools, which will then serve as a model for further community projects. How cool is that?

Best energy,

Joe Deets
Community Energy Solutions


Thank you for those precisions. It looks like the Review left out quite a bit. Maybe you wrote to them so they can complete their reporting.
As much as I think your grassroots effort is great I am concerned about the necessary policy changes that are needed to develop solar energy on a bigger scale. It does not look like PSE intends to invest significantly to fund solar roofs in Western Washington while their small support -highly trumpeted by the Review- is (in my opinion) lipservice and smokescreen PR: they prefer funding windfarms and natural gas turbines (as if imported natural gas was a renewable). It is up to the community at large to make them do so via the legislature and grassroots pressure. The political aspects cannot be neglected and it will take a significant lobbying push. Congratulating PSE for contributing 20K or 10K is not OK: they should pay for the whole roof at Sakaï and at the high school and City Hall. Power companies in other places (countries) make this type of investment because it makes sense. Local governments also do but considering the present situation of our local finances this could prove difficult. At least right now.

solar panels cost

single solar panels,,? is that effective?


I bought the 30 watt solar steysm from harbor freight, it cost $129 on sale, I have it hooked up in my shed to a 115 amp hour battery. My panels have about 6 hours of direct sunlight, which adds up to 240 watts of charging into the battery. This means that I can put another 115 amp hour battery into the steysm. I want to use it to run the lights in the shed as well as an emergency supply of electricity to run cell phone chargers and a small digital tv steysm to watch the news and weather.

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