Shift must be made to renewable energy

To the editor:

I applaud those who spoke at city council meetings and who have written to the News-Tribune supporting investment of Renewable Energy Credit dollars in energy efficiency; reducing energy consumption is both environmentally and fiscally responsible. With that said, we do need electricity and I therefore write today to encourage Oberlin residents to consider joining the Lorain Solar Co-op. Working with the non-profit Ohio Sun residents have banded together to secure significant discounts on the installation of a solar electrical systems for our homes. New co-op members are welcome, but only have until June 15 to join!

The average price has fallen to the point that solar now makes good economic sense; installation costs in the U.S. dropped by 12 percent just this last year to $3.70 per watt. With the Lorain Solar co-op discount and federal tax credit, my partner Nancy and I will be paying just $2.34 per watt to the co-op for our rooftop solar system. The anticipated lifetime savings in utility costs for our installation will be $18,500 — over twice what we will pay for installation!

OMLPS already provides some of the greenest electricity in Ohio. However, the reality is that electricity produced from landfill gas currently dominates the OMLPS mix. While this electricity is considered “green” it is not considered a renewable form of energy (landfills are not exactly sustainable). What’s more, the landfill resource itself as well as the contract that OMLPS has to obtain this gas are finite. To achieve the city-wide environmental goal of zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 the Oberlin community will have to shift to genuinely renewable energy. Solarizing Oberlin homes and businesses will necessarily be a critical part of that transition.

John Petersen