Crowd Sourcing for Solar Installation
How can we make this plain looking wall in our back alley useful and more beautiful?
Every since we opened our business in 1991 it was my dream to have a portion of our power consumption to come from solar and/or other renewable energy sources. Recently I committed myself to take $10,000 of my savings and invest it in solar and this would provide the store with about 2kW of capacity but if I spend an additional $6,000 I can increase the capacity to 3.6kW.
The larger array would be able to optimally offset about 50% of our electrical energy use. I do not expect the system to be producing the full capacity all the times so I estimate that the system would realistically replace about 25% of our energy use. This will be 25% less energy being produced by coal-fired or natural gas powered electricity generating station.
Over time we will more renewable energy sources to power our store.
On November 11th, 2015 I placed an order for the larger size. If this crowd sourcing mechanism doesn’t work then I will have to provide these extra funds from some other source. We are going to put something of use on the south wall of our store – solar panels! I have taken a photograph of the empty wall and later this wall will have an array of 14 panels mounted on it – silently producing electricity for our use.
I know many of you love the store and what it does in the community and the world. We already use less resources than any comparable sized company. Here are some of the ways we lighten our ecological debt:
- we use energy efficient lighting and we are upgrading to LED lighting where possible and when the previous fixture fails;
- we have a night shade on our produce cooler;
- we turn off lights when not in use;
- we use about 50% less water than an average household;
- we have set back thermostats;
- we wash our own mops in wash frugal washers and air dry our washing (including mop heads):
- we keep our refrigeration equipment clean of dust and such therefore they will work as efficiently as possible;
- we recycle everything we can (our cardboard bin is twice as large as our garbage bin);
- we compost all organic material;
- we sell organic food – organic food has a lower impact on the environment than non-organic industrialized food);
- we use vehicles as little as possible (driving about 800km a month which is less than the average person);
- we don’t idle our vehicles;
- most of the staff bicycle, bus or walk to work;
- we give away food that has expired or not high enough quality to sell thus avoiding organic material going to the landfill and the food being used for its intended purpose;
- we encourage our customers to reuse bags and containers to fill up from our bulk bags and to pack their groceries.
I would have loved that we could have opened up the installation for volunteers to help out but the safety and insurance restriction of our installer does not make this possible. A Solar Work Bee would have been a really cool thing to have coordinated.
As usual Earth’s General Store will be at the leading edge of the paradigm shift. As a species, we need to lessen our consumption of fossil fuels and the resulting environmental damage they cause. Earth’s General Store is doing our part and encourage other companies out there to imitate us or better yet… do better!
How it would work?
Just drop into the store and go up to the front counter and let the staff person know you would like to contribute to this adventure. They will take your money or cheque and provide a receipt to you.
If you don’t have cash or a cheque we can do a ‘Cash Back’ at the cash register as part of a transaction.
Also you can send money via PayPal or e-transfer to Michael@egs.ca.
Thank you for helping make this a reality.
We are using SkyFire Solar to install the array. I know there are lots of people that are part of our community that do this kind of work and might wonder why did I choose not to work with them on this project. It is because I have a long term relationship with one of the fellows that works for this company and he is a very regular and dedicated customer.
As we move towards a carbon reduced future as called upon by our scientists, activist, advocates, and even our governments – we have to start somewhere. We all need to take bold steps to create a future that we all want to see. This is just but one step that Earth’s General Store has made and will make to reduce our carbon footprint and reduce our contribution to the climate change balance sheet.
We challenge all businesses to step up and join us on a this path. Let’s have a revolution! The time is now to act for real change!