Help Bring Solar Power to Columbus House

by Matthew Moroney, New Haven Community Solar

New Haven Community Solar is a new kind of company. Our mission is to give community members an opportunity to invest directly in locally created environmental and social works projects. We present an alternative economic model using crowdfunding to form energy cooperatives that benefit nonprofits and build wealth in communities. Lack of corporate and political accountability led us to create a new form of active corporate ownership from the community. This empowers local leaders with alternative pathways to reduce inequality. We expand economic opportunities for vulnerable groups and accelerate a just clean energy transition by not waiting for corporations to act.

Our first project supplies clean, affordable energy to the formerly homeless with our community non-profit partner, Columbus House. Connecticut has the third-highest energy costs in the country (average of 17.3 cents per kilowatt hour). Installing solar panels for Columbus House steadies their electricity costs and frees up money to support their mission of providing services for homeless and at-risk individuals and families.

(The average residential electricity rate of 17.34¢/kWh in CT is 45.96% greater than the national average residential rate of 11.88¢/kWh. The approximate range of residential electricity rates in the U.S. is 8.37¢/kWh to 37.34¢/kWh. https://www.electricitylocal.com/states/connecticut.)

By investing instead of donating to renewable energy projects, funders have the potential to make a return from the sale of energy back to the grid. This return can be kept, donated to Columbus House, or invested back into building more community solar in New Haven. The investment period is almost over, so we invite the greater New Haven community to review our investment materials today to consider supporting the project at www.startengine.com/new-haven-community-solar.

Our initiative is ultimately a test to determine if crowd-sourced cooperatives can thrive as an alternative to current systems. We envision a future where community finance enables us to own our own futures. If the project succeeds, we will also be providing copies of our project and program documents to help guide other local leaders in creating their own crowdfunded community-owned projects.

For questions, contact Matthew Moroney at greenisagoodcolor@gmail.com.

Innovations in Alternative Energy and Power Generation in Cuba

On Saturday, Dec. 16, 10:30 a.m. to noon, join us at the New Haven Free Public Library, 133 Elm Street, for a discussion about Cuba’s energy future with Professor Luis Vazquez Seisdedos.

Luis Vazquez Seisdedos

Luis Vazquez Seisdedos, PhD., is a full professor in the Department of Automatic Control, part of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in the University of Oriente, Santiago de Cuba, Cuba. He has more than 30 years’ experience as a professor with a multidisciplinary background that includes electro-mechanical conversion systems, energy-converting systems, using fossil sources and renewable re-sources, power electronics, electric drives, analog and digital electronics, system theory and systems modeling and identification. Previously, he was a skilled engineer of seismic instruments and seismic-telemetric networks for automated earthquake detection in Cuba.

This event is co-sponsored by: Alderman Jose Crespo— Ward 16, Alderwoman Dolores Colon—Ward 6, the City of New Haven Peace Commission, the Greater New Haven Peace Commission, New Haven/León Sister City Project. For more info email Seth at sgodfrey@nhfpl.org or call (203) 946-7450. We hope you can make it! To reserve a seat, go to www.eventbrite.com/e/innovations-in-alternative-energy-and-power-generation-in-cuba-tickets-40173606338.

Don’t Let Legislators Toss Crumbs to Ratepayers

Frank Panzarella, Fight the Hike

There is a chance for Connecticut legislators in this session to approve large-scale shared solar projects with the passage of SB 928. However, instead of facilitating shared solar throughout the state, the Energy and Technology Committee, contrary to its own commissioned study, revised the bill to allow only two pilot projects (one being a two megawatt capacity and the other a four megawatt) for three years. When public testimony was accepted in March, hundreds of Connecticut residents wrote, telephoned and spoke to their legislators and members of the Energy and Technology Committee to encourage large-scale shared solar projects throughout the state.

pace-peoples-action-for-clean-energy-nuclear-solarNeedless to say, Fight the Hike members are disappointed that the Energy and Technology Committee wants to hold back on increasing the number of sustainable energy projects for CT residents. Large-scale solar investment has been successful in Massachusetts and other states. Pilot projects are not necessary to track its feasibility. It works!

Unfortunately, it looks like our governor, the Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection and others are side-stepping the expansion of solar energy and developed a disastrous policy to broaden natural gas transmission. We rate-payers will pay huge extra costs for increased gas development and have no guarantee of cheaper energy.

In addition, the price of electricity is tagged to the price of natural gas.  Is it an accident that UI and its parent company, the Spanish giant Iberdrola, are also very much involved in the natural gas and renewable expansion industries? The fact is these companies want to stall solar power until they can create rules and laws that will allow them to monopolize and grab the lion’s share of profit from these new industries away from the wonderful competitive pool of small solar companies (many growing right here in Connecticut) while the utilities also benefit from gas expansion. At present they want to hide the true value of solar power so as to control it.

The Energy and Technology Committee’s own commissioned study by the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering called for a large-scale shared solar project. Why would they ignore their own scientific report? Has some kind of back-room pressure been applied to sabotage progress, a free market and to keep rate-payers tied to the over-priced energy of corporate monopolies?

Please contact your legislators and the co-chairs of the Energy and Technology committee to let them know you support expansion of shared solar in CT.

Co-chair Rep. Lonnie Reed, 1-800-842-8267 Lonnie.Reed@cga.ct.gov
Co-chair Sen. Paul Doyle, 1-800-842-1420 Doyle@senatedems.ct.gov
Gov. Dannel Malloy, 1-800-406-1527