Friday, January 29, 2010
Green Energy for Hancock Shaker Village
Shaker innovation is alive and well at Hancock Shaker Village in Massachusetts. For a few years now the staff and board at the museum have really embraced green opportunities. In a visit last summer I had a short course in bio-fuel research and their Switchgrass (and others)-growing project with UMass Amherst.
But today's news is about a 'bundle' of seven businesses and nonprofits and their new solar panels. The seven groups are installing solar arrays as I type, and they aren't paying for it. Instead, the green energy and financing company is funding the build, with a little help from the State, and the seven members of the 'bundle' have committed to long-term purchase at a good and stable rate.
The Village is installing its array on and next to the modern Visitor's Center, but the energy company will own and maintain the system. The Village benefits from price reductions and protection on a third of the energy it uses. Its staff, members, and community (meaning all of us) benefit from the Village's carbon reduction. And the project builds on the Village's role as a place to think about a more principled life in the 21st century, demonstrating sustainable practice at this site from the 19th into our times.
Renewable energy projects are complex: tackling them as a team is the best and fastest way to make an important difference. Ah yes, yet another example of museums making positive differences in their communities.