Nukewatch Quarterly Fall 2013
This edition of the Quarterly is a special one — it’s the first newsletter we’ve researched, written and edited using solar energy! Since August 2, Nukewatch’s 10 kW photovoltaic solar panel array has been supplying clean, renewable electricity to the office and nearby buildings through a grid-tied system. In its first month of energy production, the array has produced over 1,320 kWh of electricity, about 900 kilowatt hours of which powered neighboring homes and shops. This excess electricity was sold to the local electric cooperative through a net-metering program which has already earned the Plowshares Land Trust over $100. A real-time graph showing our energy use vs. production is available online at <http://egauge5626.egaug.es/> (also linked from our website at www.nukewatchinfo.org) — check it out! (A snapshot of August’s production graph is shown at left.)
Nukewatch’s investment in this solar energy system was made possible by a generous gift from the Ethel and Carl Sanjines Trust. We could not think of a better way to make use of this substantial donation than one that for decades supports a permanent, safe alternative to nuclear and fossil fuel-based electricity — and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by about 13.8 tons per year.
We expect the project to pay for itself after 12 years, if not sooner (depending on electricity prices), and the panels are rated to last at least 25 years. This payback period would have been even shorter if we were a for-profit business taking advantage of the federal solar tax credit. The credit is not available to 501(c)(3) non-profits like Nukewatch.
The installation was done by Kris Schmid and his team from Legacy Solar of Frederic, Wisconsin. Its 39 panels (each able to produce 255 watts of electricity) were made in the US by SolarWorld of Portland, Oregon. The array is in an open field a few hundred yards from the office, set on racks made by US Solar Mounts in Sparta, Wisconsin. A large inverter converts the direct electric current from the panels into alternating current that is fed to the electric grid.
As an organization, we’re glad to have this opportunity to take an active role in the renewable energy solution to problems of climate change, fossil fuel pollution, dangerous nuclear power and the legacy of nuclear waste. We welcome visitors, so if you’d like to come and see the installation, please call Nukewatch at (715) 472-4185. — ASP