Solar panelJoin us on Tuesday, May 27 (7-9 pm at the Lansing Community Center, 25 Auburn Road) to learn how to reduce electricity consumption through conservation and efficiency measures before investing in a solar electric (PV) system.  Solar panel prices are lower than ever and incentives and tax credits remain high, so this is a great time to get off fossil fuels for your home electric needs.  However, it would be wasteful to spend more money and consume more natural resources than necessary to provide lighting and power to your appliances using solar energy.

This workshop will feature Cheryl Shields of Friedman Electric to share the latest in LED lighting, Dee Gamble of Tompkins County Cooperative Extension on reducing phantom load and switching to high efficiency equipment, and Gay Nicholson on creating your own personal plan for transitioning to a low carbon lifestyle.  Be sure to take a look at your recent electric bills so you can participate in an exercise on how to rightsize your own solar array.

Around the county, there is a growing buzz about the upcoming launch of Solar Tompkins — a community-wide initiative to switch to clean solar energy by joining together to get a big group discount by pooling our orders on hundreds of individual solar arrays.  The pilot project in the south part of the county last year was a big success.  Now the rest of us will get to participate in securing this significantly lower price for owning our own power generation for our home or business.  Be sure you don’t miss this opportunity!  NYS has proposed to completely restructure the energy market and utility structure, and the current mix of incentives will probably be eliminated in the process.  Buying now at these historically low prices is a sound investment.  But before you make the Switch to Solar, it’s a good idea to get familiar with the energy needs of your household so you can make informed choices.

Lansing Communergy, a group of Lansing residents organized by Sustainable Tompkins, has been meeting since last August to explore various types of locally-owned renewable energy systems.  This spring they are hosting a series of public lectures on solar hot water, microhydro systems, and reducing household electricity usage prior to sizing a solar electric system.