Finished: So that's what 3000 square feet of solar panels looks like!
October 2018: Install Complete! Congrats to Willow Wisp Organic Farm, Greg and Tannis, who are now producing over 100% of their farm's electricity from the Sun.
August 19, 2018: Thanks to 26 participating Co-op members, we have successfully raised all the funding needed to finance a new 50kW solar photovoltaic (PV) system in Damascus PA. The Co-op's third private offering of its Preferred Shares to our PA-resident members was closed on August 15th after raising $60,000 in new capital. By the end of this month, that money plus additional funds from our 2017 and 2018 revenues will be used to provide a long-term modest loan of $69,000 to Willow Wisp Organic Farm LLC. Willow Wisp has already received approval from PPL Electric Utilities to begin construction of the 168 PV panel system that will cover nearly 3000 square feet of their barn roof. Buselli Solutions from Beach Lake PA will once again be the prime contractor and is expected to start installation before the first of October.
June 25, 2018: We had a wonderful joint event with Willow Wisp Organic Farm yesterday, with around 175 people in attendance! Greg Swartz spoke in detail about the practice of organic farming, and their recent move to this expanded location. The sun came out at just the right times, even if the rain on the greenhouse roof delayed us for a bit when discussing the new 50kW solar installation. Thanks to the whole crew at Willow Wisp and the many volunteers who prepared some delicious farm fresh dishes and brought desserts! Nothing beats sharing a meal with people.
We extend a big welcome to the seven new Co-op members who signed up on the spot, and we hope many more send in the membership forms handed out. We love getting the word out to everyone about the great things happening in our community that make us more sustainable. Planet, People, AND Profits. We can do this!
May 24, 2018: HOLD the date! Sunday June 24th, 3-6pm for an open house, farm tour, fresh vegetarian meal, and project discussion at Willow Wisp Organic Farm (38 Hickory Lane, Damascus PA). This event is open to the public, but we will likely find a time toward the end for a private members-only discussion about our current Preferred Share offering, which is exclusively available to our PA-resident Co-op members.
May 18, 2018: We got some great news this week. The USDA has approved the Willow Wisp grant application and has reserved up to $12,105 toward the construction costs of this project (pending some additional paperwork). Yeah!! The Co-op board of directors met this week as well (after being delayed by the nearby tornado on Tuesday) and approved our fundraising plans. PA-resident members will be receiving an email shortly with those details. If you are not yet a Co-op member, and believe in clean sustainable energy for our region, then pleasejoin us! We have plans in development for more activities jointly with Willow Wisp that will be announced soon. Let's do this!
April 10, 2018: The Clean Energy Co-op is extra excited to announce our next and largest project to date - installing 50kWs of solar photovoltaic (PV) at Willow Wisp Organic Farm in Damascus Pennsylvania. Last week, the Co-op signed a MoU with Willow Wisp, to finance up to 168 panels to go on the barn roof pictured above. The planned PV system will provide the farm with all of its current electricity needs, with the excess sold to PPL Electric Utilities for distribution to its other customers. Our first step is submission of a grant application to the USDA's REAP program to hopefully provide about $12,000, with the farm and Co-op providing the remainder of the nearly $95,000 cost of the project. Similar to our Anthill Farm project last year, the Co-op will be raising the required funds from its membership via a private Preferred Share offering, so that it can then provide Willow Wisp with a long-term modest loan.
Willow Wisp Organic Farm was established in 2008 by Greg Swartz and Tannis Kowalchuk and produces over 45 varieties of certified organic vegetables, small fruit, culinary herbs, and cut flowers. After moving their operations to a larger stretch of fertile land alongside the Delaware River last year, the farm continues to make infrastructure investments, increase staff, production and its profitability. Greg says "Solar energy makes sense for us. As a farm, we harvest solar energy when growing our produce, and using solar-generated electricity to run our irrigation pumps, refrigeration, and other needs is just another step in improving the sustainability for our farm, our community and our world."