Waco Friends of Peace/Climate meet monthly, the third Tuesday of the month, 6 pm, at Poppo Rollo's Pizza
Westbank Meeting Room, 703 N. Valley Mills Dr., Waco, 76710. Free presentation and pizza/salad buffet.

Monday, April 16, 2018

A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO ROOFTOP SOLAR IN CENTRAL TEXAS

The following column by Alan Northcutt appeared in the Waco Tribune-Herald on Sunday, April 15th:


Climate science has clearly determined that to maintain a livable planet the mean global temperature increase above pre-industrial must be limited to 2 degrees C., through rapid reduction of worldwide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  In the United States, the largest sources of emissions are electricity generation, and transportation.  In a previous Trib column I reviewed hybrid and battery electric cars.  In this column I will discuss rooftop solar, using photovoltaic or PV cells, in Central Texas, incorporating my personal experience of 27 months.  

Availability.  Waco encounters an average of 230 sunny or partly sunny days per year, and is thus an outstanding locale for rooftop solar for residences or businesses.  The primary requirement is a roof unobstructed by trees or other objects.  (But if obstructions exists, many installers can erect ground based solar arrays.)  A south facing roof generates maximum energy, but is not mandatory.  Although homeowner’s associations will often assert that rooftop solar is not permitted, this claim is false, and they are not able to prevent installations under Texas law.  In fact, the claim that solar panels are unsightly is actually a myth.  Their sleek, black futuristic appearance is a visual improvement over mundane gray shingles.     

Cost.  Although the exact price of a home solar system depends on multiple variables, I will provide a representative example.  A 6000 watt (6kWp) system has a list price of approximately $18,000.  For those in the ONCOR service area, a properly oriented system could receive an incentive of about $4,200, reducing the upfront cost to $13,800.  (Note that the ONCOR incentive varies throughout the year).  Later, applying the 30% federal tax credit, the final out of pocket cost would be only $9660.  Although the price of PV cells has plummeted over a decade, the new Trump tariff on panels is expected to increase the price of a typical residential system by $500-$1000 in 2018, and by less in 2019-2021.  The average time for a system to pay for itself is 7 to 8 years, and the system thereafter saves the owner money.  The good news is that the two predominant installers in Central Texas, Holtek of Waco and Freedom of Austin, now both offer financing, making home systems highly affordable.

Installation.  Waco is fortunate to have an experienced local installer in Holtek , whom I utilized. I can attest to Holtek’s excellent customer service.  Freedom Solar has also received a glowing review from a friend who used the company.  Installation usually involves attaching the panels to the roof, attaching the inverter (converts DC to AC) to an outside wall, and wiring the system components, connecting to the existing electric service.  The process surprisingly is completed in approximately 3 days.

Operation.  One delight of home solar is monitoring the function of the system.  Through one’s computer or smart phone app, data is displayed, including: daily, weekly, monthly, and annual electricity output; total home consumption; and dollar cost savings.  And through net metering, the excess production during the sunny hours is credited by the grid provider, further lowering one’s electricity bill.  My system of 30 panels has had an average monthly generation of 1,198kWh, a maximum monthly generation of 1,660kWh, and several months with NO bill for electricity consumption! With no moving parts, PVC systems are essentially care free.  In 27 months, the only maintenance I performed was rinsing the panels once with a garden hose during a very dry, dusty month.  

Rationale.  In conclusion, the reasons to install rooftop solar are multiple:
·     Once the system cost is recovered, monthly electricity bill savings represent income.  Further, the systems are guaranteed to produce 80% of initial output for 25 years!
·     Home value may increase 3 to 4% upon the addition of rooftop solar systems, according to a 2011 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research. 
·     Conversion of the world’s energy system to renewables is a race against time, to avoid climate catastrophe.  Installation of rooftop solar is thus a powerful contribution to our children’s well-being.
·     Replacing fossil fuel energy with solar energy has many additional benefits: cleaner air with decreased cardiopulmonary disease, water savings during time of drought, decreased pipeline disasters, and fewer fracking calamities.     


Alan D. Northcutt, M.D. is a local physician, and director of the Waco Friends of Peace/Climate
(www.friendsofpeace.org

To subscribe to FOP/Climate email list: anorthc@aol.com  

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

5th ANNUAL EARTH DAY Distribution of FREE Reusable Shopping Bags


On Saturday, April 21, from 9:00 AM until 1:00 PM, FOP/C members will distribute complimentary re-usable shopping bags at the Waco Downtown Farmers' Market.  This will be the fifth year that we have done this.  The shoppers at the Market seem to love this tradition and we give away from 500 to 800 bags each year.  Hopefully, 2018 will also be successful. 

We know that this event serves 2 purposes:  it helps decrease litter associated with single use plastic bags, and it decreases the global carbon emissions associated with the plastic bags.  The vast majority of shoppers at local groceries are STILL using plastic bags.  Our mission is to reverse that pattern by our example as we shop, and by supplying the bags folks need in order to ditch the plastic.  And never forget:  if we don't change our behavior, by 2050  the OCEAN WILL CONTAIN MORE PLASTIC BY WEIGHT THAN FISH!!  We must help prevent that disaster.

To subscribe to FOP/Climate email list: anorthc@aol.com  

Presentation on Solar Installation by Freedom Solar

Tuesday, April 17th
Poppa Rollo's Pizza
703 N. Valley Mills Dr.
Waco
6 PM Business & Free Buffet
6:30 Presentation & Discussion


April’s meeting features a presentation on rooftop solar by Shannon Munden of Freedom Solar of Austin.  Shannon is the Houston Manager of Freedom.  Her presentation will cover the history of solar energy, the details of a rooftop solar installation, and financing options.  For those interested in rooftop solar, this presentation will be very useful and practical.  Time is allotted for Q&A.

Installing a rooftop solar system is one of the greatest steps one can take to combat climate change.


To subscribe to FOP/Climate email list: anorthc@aol.com  

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

First Concert for the Climate Presents David Rovics


Performing at the first Concert for the Climate, David Rovics – a brilliant political singer/songwriter – nailed our current Trumpian situation with biting lyrics and rousing guitar.  Several of his  songs directly addressed climate change.

Local guitarist Frank Exum opened with a beautiful set of classical instrumentals.  Alan Northcutt, MD, provided a lecture covering ongoing impacts of anthropogenic climate change and distributed a comprehensive handout covering small to large steps everyone can take to combat climate change.

There was a fantastic spread of vegetarian snacks provided, ranging from chocolate hummus to stuffed celery.  “Dire Predictions,” a beautiful climate change book by Michael Mann, was given as a door prize to ten attendees.

FOP/C would like to thank all our guests, who were treated to an enjoyable and educational event.  Thanks go out to all FOP/C members who helped out in multiple ways to create a memorable evening:  Ana, Carmen Saenz, Serena, Harrison, Sherrell & Bruce Huff, Travis Hipp, Latayla Drake, Adrian Northcutt, and everyone else who contributed.  Thanks also to the Jubilee Theater for providing the venue, and the director, Trent, for all his help.

David’s tour continues on to Houston and then to Scandinavia and Germany.  His music can be accessed at www.davidrovics.bandcamp.com.






































To subscribe to FOP/Climate email list: anorthc@aol.com  

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Ted Nugent Speach Protested

On Thursday, March 15, the McLennan County Republican Club held its monthly meeting at the Texas Ranger Museum in Waco.  Featured was Ted Nugent, speaking on “Protecting Our Gun Liberties in Crazy Politically Correct Times.”  Members of Waco Friends of Peace/Climate, along with friends from Baylor, Lake Shore Baptist Church and other individuals, stood in protest at the entrance of the museum parking lot.  We called out the Republican Club for selecting the despicable Ted Nugent to speak.  We expressed outrage that this Republican organization would belittle efforts to save lives through sane gun control by labeling those efforts “PC,” thus dishonoring the memory of all those slain in mass shootings.

Over 20 people participated in the demonstration, including a three-year-old attending her very first protest!  There was some positive response from people entering the parking lot, and there was good media coverage from the Tribune Herald and two or three television stations.

Waco will be holding a "March for Our Lives" event at 3 PM, March 24, at Heritage Square.  This will be in support of similar events nationwide.
























 







































































To subscribe to FOP/Climate email list: anorthc@aol.com  

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Go Renewable Waco Campaign Presentation



At the February 20th meeting of the Waco City Council, the Waco Friends of Peace/Climate gave its Go Renewable Waco campaign presentation to the Council, along with a petition containing 1098 signatures.  Alan Northcutt addressed the Council with an excellent PowerPoint presentation, as well as providing each council member with a comprehensive handout that contained all 36 PowerPoint slides plus supporting articles and research.  About 70 activists were there in support of the presentation.  The Council seemed receptive, but the result remains to be seen.

Along with the 70 activists present, thanks go to the efforts of Ana, Serena Kristiana Teakell Rigby, Travis Hipp, Harrison Ward, David Garcia Arreola, Dustin Weins, Laura Whisman Abbruzzese, and Toby Rigby.  Thanks also to Ingrid Martine for speaking to the Council after Alan’s presentation, reaffirming the moral imperative for climate action.  The presentation and petition were the culmination of six months work, but of course our efforts will continue.

After the Council meeting, a number of those attending ate together at Bangkok Royal, compliments of FOP/C.

Here are some images from the Council meeting, a few of the slides, and the dinner at Bangkok Royal.












Thursday, February 15, 2018

February 20th City Council Meeting Update

We have selected Bangkok Royale for our complimentary dinner after the City Council session.  The restaurant is within walking distance across the street, offers good Thai fare, and also has vegan options.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

TRUMP ‘S OFFSHORE DRILLING PLAN: Protest & Public Hearing

Waco Friends of Peace/Climate joined Sierra Club, Environment Texas, & others in this action, which took place at the Embassy Suites by Hilton on Clayton Lane in Austin on Tuesday, February 6th.   About 20-25 activists rallied outside the hotel with short statements of the issues by leaders.   We then marched into the meeting room, signed a log, and left our written statements.  They would not allow signs inside the meeting room.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is about leases for exploration & new reserves. Basically, the BOEM officials seemed to have little knowledge of climate science and greenhouse gas emissions.  Nobody used the words ‘climate change.’  We explained that with our C02 budget of 565 gigatons, we can only safely burn 20% of known reserves and none of newly discovered deposits.
 

This face-to-face discussion with BOEM staff members at the public meeting was powerful. They learned about the C02 budget & why we can not burn any new oil that is discovered—thus more exploration is senseless. This data seemed to be new to them!  That fact is frightening. We know our oral comments were heard; we have no certainty the written comments were read. 
Many thanks to our members Ana & Serena, who braved intense cold and rainy skies to speak truth to power.


































To subscribe to FOP/Climate email list: anorthc@aol.com   

Friday, February 02, 2018

WACO FRIENDS OF PEACE/CLIMATE CALENDAR


February 20: "Go Renewable Waco" presentation at Waco City Council, 5:45pm.
March 29:  David Rovics "Concert for the Climate," Jubilee Theater, 6-9pm.
April 17:  Solar Energy Presentation by Freedom Solar of Austin.  Poppa Rollos Pizza, 6pm.
April 21: 4th Annual Free Renewable Shopping Bag Distribution, Downtown Farmers Market, 9am-1pm.
May 15: Regular Business Meeting with Climate Documentary or Lecture, 6pm.

"GO RENEWABLE WACO" PRESENTATION AT WACO CITY COUNCIL

We now have over 1000 signatures on our petition requesting that the City Council of Waco pledge to go 100% renewable by 2050.  The next step is our 10 minute Powerpoint presentation to the City Council on Feb. 20, where we will make our case for the importance of Waco taking the pledge.  At that time we need a huge crowd of supporters to help emphasize to the City the strength of the renewable energy movement.  Thus we fervently request that everyone plan now to attend Feb. 20 if possible.

The petition and organization endorsements are important, but vital is a meeting room filled with live supporters.  So please plan to attend, and invite everyone you know who supports the rapid growth of renewable energy.   Remember: the science is clear that we must convert our energy system completely to green energy by 2050 to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change.

Below are the details for the FOP/C action on February 20th:

  • Waco Convention Center Bosque Theater, 100 Washington Avenue, Waco
  • Arrive by 5:45pm (session begins at 6:00pm).
  • If transportation needed, contact Travis Hipp :  hipptravis@gmail.com
  • Not necessary to fill out card at entrance.
  • Simply enter theater and sit together.
  • Wear some shade of green top, shirt, blouse, etc.
  • Our single presenter should begin within 20 minutes of session beginning and will last for 10 minutes.  We may leave after the presentation is completed.
  • Our organization will provide dinner to all attendees after the session (details to follow).
  • Please forward any remaining petition signatures to: anorthc@aol.com.
  • MOST IMPORTANT: to FILL the theater with a sea of green.  Please bring everyone from McLennan County you can find-- family members, kids, friends, colleagues, co-workers, etc. We would greatly appreciate all our BAYLOR friends support on this day.
  • Questions: anorthc@aol.com 



Friday, January 26, 2018

FRACKING PROTEST: TUESDAY, JANUARY 30TH, AUSTIN



Waco Friends of Peace/Climate will answer this action call and support the event with a contingent.  The plan is to leave from Alan Northcutt’s house (or another central location) about 5:30 or 6:00 AM.  Each person should make a sign to carry.  And hopefully we will have time on the way back for a delicious vegetarian meal at the Austin institution of Mother's. It's important to support other activists, and it should be fun.

Please email Alan if you wish to go.  There is room in his car for 2 or 3.  If you would like to participate, please email ASAP:   anorthc@aol.com

Thursday, January 25, 2018

FIRST CLIMATE CHANGE CHALKING



On December 9, 2017, a chalking took place at Cameron Park in Waco.  The message:  a vegan diet produces approximately one half the GHG emissions as a carnivorous diet.  This is one of the best ways to lighten one’s carbon footprint.  Chalking may reach those who do not utilize standard media.
Thanks go to Bessie VonMessenger for organizing this vegan chalking and to Travis Hipp for his participation.