Greensgrow Farms, an urban farm in Philadelphia, gets a solar farm stand to complement its sustainable agriculture practices. The farm stand and solar array were financed by the Green Mountain Energy Sun Club and should provide 10% of the farm’s electricity needs.
We’re starting to see solar power in more places. Beyond the many homes, businesses, schools, and government buildings going solar, it’s also showing up on zoos, farms, even airplanes! This week brought a new place for solar: a farm stand.
In a special Earth Day dedication this week, the Green Mountain Energy Sun Club completed its first solar array installation in Pennsylvania as it “flipped the switch” on a solar farm stand at Greensgrow Farms, a nonprofit urban farmer’s market in Philadelphia. A new, free-standing structure topped with solar panels will generate renewable energy and help reduce electricity costs for the farm.
The Sun Club is a unique program enabling Green Mountain Energy Company and its employees and customers, including those in the Philadelphia area, to donate solar power to nonprofits like Greensgrow Farms.
This solar project was made possible by a $20,000 donation to the farm last year. The 4.8 kW solar array is made up of 16 panels and covers 480 square feet on the top of the unique structure, which was designed and installed by Sunora Energy Solutions.
The structure will serve as a solar farm stand, providing a shaded place for customers to pick up fresh produce and meeting about 10% of the farm’s onsite electricity needs, such as lighting and refrigeration. The array is expected to generate an estimated 4,900 kilowatt-hours of pollution-free energy and avoid an estimated 9,600 pounds of CO2 each year.
“Today we’re proud to use the same power of the sun that grows our fresh fruits and vegetables to help our farm grow in a whole new way,” said Mary Seton Corboy, founder and chief farm hand, Greensgrow Farms, in a press release. “This solar array gives us the opportunity to educate our volunteers and patrons even more on environmental best practices. We thank the Sun Club for helping us expand our sustainability efforts and for bringing more solar to our community.”
Greensgrow Farms brings health and nutrition awareness to an urban area where local produce is scarce. What was once a dilapidated industrial site is today an active, vibrant urban farm, now complete with a farm stand.
“In urban environments like Philadelphia, it’s easy to forget the important role nature plays in our lives. Greensgrow Farms is here keeping sustainable agriculture in the forefront of our minds, bettering the health of its community and setting an example for local businesses with extensive sustainability efforts,” said Tony Napolillo, Sun Club Program Manager, Green Mountain Energy Company. “The Sun Club is thrilled to contribute to those efforts with this solar array. We couldn’t have found a better partner for our first major Pennsylvania project.”
The solar dedication ceremony coincides with Greensgrow’s annual Neighborhood Greening event in honor of Earth Day. Greensgrow and Green Mountain volunteers and employees will replant flowers displayed at the Philadelphia Flower Show. The flowers will be planted at four locations across the city in an effort to beautify the farm’s surrounding neighborhoods. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), the host of the Philadelphia Flower Show, was named a 2014 Sun Club solar recipient last month.
In addition to the solar farm stand installation, Greensgrow Farms is a recipient of the Sun Club Solar Leader Award and new member of the Sun Club Hall of Fame. The Sun Club Hall of Fame is a group of exceptional Sun Club donation recipients who seamlessly incorporate solar power into their initiatives and serve as a role model for organizations looking to adopt earth-friendly practices.