June 1, 2016: The Environment Committee known as the “Green Team” continues to focus on the following efforts: 1. Solar Energy & Energy Efficiency, 2. Clean Regattas & A Clean Club, and 3. Environmental Education.
This June, we will be kicking off a full season of “Sailors for the Sea Clean Regattas” beginning with the Leukemia Cup on June 4th. The Club’s Clean Regatta Policy has been updated with new best practices (e.g. recycling, composting, reusable water bottles, etc) and the Race Committee has informed our racers that EYC has a “Clean Regatta Policy.”
The Leukemia Cup Regatta Committee anticipates achieving gold-level certification by Sailors for the Sea with the assistance of club members serving as “Green Ambassadors” and Annapolis Green.
On the Education front, the committee is excited about the EYC Foundation STEM Program on May 31 - June 2 which will engage students from local elementary and middle schools in a sailing & boating program that also informs them about environmental concerns and bay issues.
Lastly, a lot is happening with the club’s solar initiative which began in 2014 as part of EYC’s greening effort. For a summary of the initiative and next steps see club member and solar expert Kurt Karsten’s update below.
Solar Energy Initiative Summary and Update
EYC is switching to Solar Energy to achieve its primary goal of getting energy from an environmentally friendly source. As it happens, this will also save the Club money!
A solar workgroup comprised of Ed Wells (chair), Kurt Karsten, Bill Kocan, Steve Schaub, and Virginia Tippie researched options and the EYC Board subsequently approved moving forward with RER Energy Group, LLC, a company that specializes in helping non-profits move to solar. EYC qualifies for a program that allows EYC to install an offsite solar array, since solar panels on the clubhouse would only meet 15% of our energy needs. After extensive discussion at two town hall meetings and numerous meetings with the EYC Board and Finance Committee, an agreement has been negotiated.
1. No additional “cost” to changing our source of electricity from coal/gas to solar. In fact, the club will save at least 15-20% on its needed electricity purchases from day one.
2. No “upfront” payment required. The day the source of electricity changes, BGE will continue to bill for electricity.
3. The solar array, initially owned by a third party LLC, will be located on a field in Prince George’s County. EYC will have NO responsibility for maintenance or repair of the system.
4. Should EYC, in the future, decide to “buy” the solar array, electricity generated by the array, which has a life span of 40+ years, will be free.
5. The solar array, over the course of the year, will produce about 75%-90% of the club’s electricity. Production in April - September will be high, and in October - March will be lower, so EYC will continue to pay electricity bills from BGE. BG&E will balance the costs out over the year by “credits” on the bills.
6. The only “risk” for EYC is the small possibility that conventional energy prices from BGE over the 20 year contract might somehow decrease, instead of stay the same or increase. Energy prices have never significantly gone down since WWII. All forecasts indicate energy prices will increase. So the EYC board feels this is a small risk. As well, the money saved beginning from day 1 on electricity prices will provide a hedge against future costs.
7. Federal and state incentives, that will not be around much longer, allow for a cost savings now of almost 40% on the price of the solar array. Even if solar becomes much more efficient and much cheaper, waiting will not result in a lower price for solar energy since the incentives will not be available.
The timing of the process is as follows: The EYC Board will soon find out from BG&E the exact costs of connecting the solar array to the “Grid.” The Board anticipates receiving that information in time to make a decision on the Contract at their July Board meeting, with construction beginning in the fall.