January 2024 Newsletter

January 12, 2024

January 2024 Newsletter

Empowering Sustainable Communities

From the Desk of Jess W.

Thinking about the Sun this January…

The other morning the thermometer read 19°: that’s cold! In January, sometimes considered to be the coldest month of the year, I’m especially thankful for the sun. When the sun is out, even if it’s cold, it still feels like it’s all possible!!

In this New Year I am filled with optimism for the continued growth and development of our organization. Deep gratitude and heartfelt thanks go to all of our SEEDS supporters. So far, we raised over $9,000 in our end of the year campaign! Your financial support helps fund our Assessment and Internship programs, our Annual Book Share, our workshops, and our overhead expenses. But it’s not just money that fuels our organization. SEEDS is made up of volunteers, a great bunch of wonderful and generous people. And, we could use your help! Contact me at info@seedsgroup.net to volunteer your time and energy. 

Your support is the power behind SEEDS–like the Sun is the power for life! In honor of that power, this month’s newsletter focuses on Solar Power.

Upcoming Events

Upcoming SEEDS Solar Forum Begins in February

SEEDS presents a months-long series on Solar Power, and we begin the line-up with:

  • February 7th:  Solar 101 webinar presented by SEEDS volunteer and PA Solar Advocate Jack Barnett.
  • February 21st: Off-Grid Solar webinar presented by SEEDS volunteer Adam Freedgood and Dan Quilty.
  • March 6th: Webinar on Agrovoltaics presented by Chelsea Hill, PennState Extension Adult Livestock & 4-H Animal Science Educator.
  • April Date TBD: SEEDS and The Stourbridge Project host a hands-on Build Your Own Portable Solar Powered Charging Station workshop.
  • April 30th & May 1st: SEEDS hosts a Do-It-Yourself Solar Installation workshop presented by Jack Barnett and Blair Buselli from Busselli Solutions. This workshop is in-person at the auditorium at the 648 Park Street complex in Honesdale on April 30th & May 1st with a hands-on installation in Hancock, NY on May 4th & 5th (limited participation).

Registration for all forums is required. Check out https://seedsgroup.net/solar-forum/ for more information and registration links.

Local News

Solar Power Development News

Recently there has been an increased interest in developing large-scale solar projects in the region. Locally, a project spanning Damascus and Lebanon townships is moving forward. The project was approved by local municipalities in February 2023. In response to this land development speculation, the Wayne County Commissioners, including SEEDS Board member Jocelyn Cramer, hosted an information session on solar power development in November 2023. This information session was presented by Penn State Extension and was specifically for landowners to shed light on utility-scale solar farms. Penn State Extension provided a wealth of information on easements, government policy, and scale infrastructure, which can also be found on their website using the link Pennsylvania Landowners Guide to Utility-ScalSolar Leasing.
Another Guidebook for Leasing Land for Large-Scale Solar Development was published in October 2023 by the Pennsylvania Solar Center. In consultation with Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services, this guide aims to help Pennsylvania landowners navigate the process of leasing their land for solar development. The guidebook includes stakeholders from a diverse group of professionals in local government, farm advisory groups, solar industry, as well as legal, environmental, and land conservation groups.

Good News

Recycling EV Batteries 

A California project is the second in the US to employ used Electric Vehicle (EV) batteries to sell power to the grid. As reported on Utilitydive.com, “B2U Storage Solutions said Tuesday it has begun operations at its second grid-connected hybrid storage facility, using hundreds of repurposed EV batteries from Honda for a 3 MW/12 MWh facility.”  You can read the full article here.

Call for Volunteers

January  Envirothon

The PA Envirothon Statewide High School competition kicks off this month and we want to wish all the students the best of luck! The theme this year is “Renewable Energy for a Sustainable Future.” The PA Envirothon website has materials that participants will use to study from including key learning objectives that can be accessed here: https://www.envirothonpa.org/station/current-issues/.

The state tests are in April and we are looking for people who can proctor tests. If interested please contact Jess at info@seedsgroup.net.

Did You Hear?

Passive Solar in the News

Last month, the BBC broadcast a show on the historic Dover Sun House. The show highlighted the work of three pioneering women in the 1940’s who developed a solar heated home: the heiress Amelia Peabody, a biophysicist from MIT named Maria Telkes, and architect Eleanor Raymond. The Dover Sun House was a practical experimental house, a test-bed for MIT’s solar energy conversion research technologies in Dover, Massachusetts. This is a great segue to this next bit of information SEEDS volunteer Maria Cohen wanted to share with everyone.

The Passive House Network released an Energy Standards Comparison Study, that compares Passive House certification standards with other commonly used energy performance criteria. Phase I of the study views energy standard performance outcomes across all North American climate zones, with a focus on multifamily and residential buildings. These findings will be useful to building owners, developers, and design professionals looking for a better understanding of performance pathways. It is especially invaluable to policymakers in jurisdictions that have adopted or are considering adopting energy-efficient building code standards.

If you are not a member of SEEDS, please consider joining us today!
You can use this link to share our membership page with others:
You will continue to receive our newsletters, invitations to our educational forums and other events. Members are eligible for free solar evaluations, have voting rights at our annual meeting, and help shape our programs and initiatives.  For more information visit our website at www.seedsgroup.net.