What could be better to celebrate Earth Day than a solar farm stand? Greensgrow Farms, a nonprofit farm in Philadelphia, did just that as it dedicated its new solar panel installation.
The 16 panels sit atop a new pavilion near the entrance to Greensgrow and will provide shade for customers picking up produce. At the same time, they will generate nearly 5,000 kilowatt hours of energy every year -- about half of what the average area home requires.
The array was donated by the Green Mountain Energy Company's Sun Club, which works to provide panels to nonprofits applying through its program.
"The great thing about this is, it was a $20,000 donation that built it, but it's going to be giving back to them every year for the next 25 to 30 years," said Tony Napolillo, Sun Club program manager. "They're going to save every month on their electricity bill, and they're going to be reducing their environmental footprint because it's pollution free."
Bringing solar to the farm goes beyond saving money, said Mary Seton Corboy, chief ideas officer for Greensgrow.
"I particularly like to see when we're able to bring something to a community that is usually kind of last on the list," she said. "To have kids in this community, you know, from a school learning about solar, and saying, 'Yeah, oh, that's the thing they have at Greensgrow,' I mean, that's an amazing thing."
Napolillo says three other area nonprofits will get panels through the program later this year.