MWA’s Solar Update

There are plenty of reasons to go solar. Choosing to install solar panels saves money, reduces pollution, and creates local jobs. Just as importantly, it reduces dependency on big utility companies that extract wealth from our communities, increasing our resilience against power outages and utility monopolies.

            So, in November 2017, the MWA office went solar as part of our Sweet Green Project. In the three years since, we have recorded our energy savings and earnings in order to present an update on our experience with this renewable source of energy. It’s a marvel to imagine light from the sun transfigured into our computers, phones, and printers, but also to share the hard numbers of its performance.

Photo courtesy of Samyag Shah via Unsplash

Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) are generated when energy produced by the solar panels exceeds the energy needs of the building, yielding a surplus. This can be sold back to the grid to be used elsewhere by the utility company. In some states, an SREC can be worth over $300, but in Pennsylvania they are hovering around $30.  Since installing solar, Mountain Watershed has sold SRECs for a total profit of $1,058.

            This profit is in addition to daily energy savings from running our lights and appliances on the power of the sun. The total energy we’ve saved this way is 44.7 MWh, which translates to 51 years straight of running a 100W bulb, or 21 years of using a refrigerator. Money saved from solar on energy bills will vary by region and utility, but MWA has already saved $3,065 here in Melcroft.

             We will continue to monitor the green contributions of our solar array going forward and to share its progress. Despite lacking the large federal subsidies of oil and gas, renewable energy is still the fastest-growing energy source in the United States. As an environmental organization, we are proud to contribute to a renewable energy future and hope to continue to see solar grow in our region.