To Help The Environment & Community... Helping Others To Do Their Part. You Can Help Pass It On.
Owners of Lenape Solar, LLC, Tonya Ditty and Justin Charles, along with their 19 full time and 3 part time employees take great pride in doing their part to help the environment & community, assisting commercial and residential clients in saving millions through energy conservation and renewable energy production, and in sharing that knowledge. Lenape is also pleased to be able to again sponsor the “Green Issue” of Voice of the Valley.
In 2014’s April Voice of the Valley, Lenape Solar was proud to announce that we were saving consumers an amazing 8,120,312 kWh of electricity; today that number has increased to 16,104,574 kWh of electricity representing more than $1.7 million dollars annually and it is quite literally growing every single day. “It’s pretty incredible to recognize that we’re making such a huge impact on our community. Obviously we’re passionate about the environment but I never imagined we would end up saving our friends, neighbors, and peers this much money. Providing this type of a boost to our local economy, particularly in the current economic environment, is rewarding beyond words” states Lenape Solar President Tonya Ditty. Thanks to Lenape’s promotion of the e-Power Program, municipalities, non-profits and businesses are able to put more than 1.7 million dollars a year back into their own pockets and our local economy - just by conserving energy. Who would have ever thought it would be that easy?
So who is saving all that money? Lenape Solar’s ever-expanding list of clients is impressive. Multiple counties, including Northumberland County and Snyder County, have appreciated significant annual savings through lighting retrofit projects. City Police Stations, Street Departments, City Halls, DUI Centers, Tax Offices as well as many Borough and Township Police Stations, Sewer Authorities, Water Plants, Libraries and more have all benefitted from significant yearly savings via the e-Power Program facilitated by local power companies. Tony Engelke, Lenape Sales Manager comments “We cover a pretty large area; we haven’t reached all of the municipalities, fire companies and businesses yet but we’re working hard to reach as many as we can. We don’t want anyone to miss out.” “There’s a lot of funding out there through ACT 129 and I’d like to see it spent in our area.” Schools, faith organizations, and a whole range of commercial businesses have also taken advantage of the opportunities presented by PP&L’s e-Power Program.
In addition to decreasing energy usage, Lenape also helps their clients identify program incentives, grants and funding sources for their projects. To date, Lenape has brought more than $2.7 million dollars of incentive and grant funding into our local area through ACT 129 compliance and REAP grants. This funding offsets the material and labor costs for many Lighting Retrofit and Solar projects, making the change over even more affordable. “Energy-use reduction is a change we all need to make- in our businesses, municipalities, institutions and non-profits- so why wouldn’t you (take advantage of the e-Power program)?” Engelke challenges.
“We’ve witnessed an incredible surge in Photovoltaic Energy (PV) projects in the past year.” Justin Charles, Vice President of Lenape reports. “That’s where my passion lays, the design and engineering of the PV systems. The bigger the projects become, the more complexities they take on. We’ve partnered with some top notch licensed structural and electrical engineers to design and install everything from a modest home installation to a multi-megawatt commercial installation. Transforming our customers’ ideas and dreams into an energy production reality is extremely fulfilling.” Justin goes on to tell us “What I continually see surprise people the most is how affordable solar energy production has become.” The overall cost of a PV system has come down about 50% within the last 4 years. As with many other technologies, engineering advances linked with increased efficiency in production (due to demand) cause the purchase price to lower. Combine product price reduction with tax incentives, accelerated depreciation and increasing energy cost and all of a sudden that idea/dream is an affordable reality.
If your site isn’t suited for solar, are you out of luck? No. Financial (& electricity) savings can be found in how we heat/cool our homes, businesses & community buildings. Minisplits have been in use for decades in Europe and now Americans are finally picking up on this opportunity. ‘Minisplits’ – the industry name for a ductless heating/cooling system – allow you to improve the temperature of rooms (zones) without changing all rooms in your structure. If you’re in the kitchen, why ‘fix’ the temperature in Master Bedroom? If you’re in the basement, do you really need to spend the money to heat the Dining Room?
To further combat the elevating fuel costs, Lenape has launched their tankless water heater division. Tankless water heaters let you use energy only when you need it- not all day, every day. Tankless water heaters can be powered by natural gas, propane or electricity and there are new efficiency standards worth noting. As of April 16, 2015, the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA), will require higher efficiencies for almost all residential water heaters. High efficiency equates to long term savings to the home or business owner and every tankless unit Lenape offers well exceeds the new standards set forth by NAECA, a fact which only strengthens the argument for installation of a tankless heater.
Recycling of waste materials is another area where Lenape is striving to be a better business & environmental steward. Diana Winett, Executive Asst., notes “We recycle the fixtures, wiring, etc. removed in the course of the retrofit lighting installations and securely package all of the lightbulbs for delivery to a licensed facility for environmentally-conscious recycling.” In accordance with Sunbury ordinance, Lenape recycles aluminum, glass, cardboard, and paper but to further their efforts Diana reports that “we also recycle tin, copper, batteries, polystyrene foam (“Styrofoam”), plastic, glossy/magazine paper, toner cartridges, wooden pallets, packing peanuts, and on and on...” Of just the materials they’re required to track, Lenape recycled 33,502 lbs of materials last year alone. “We are proud to have increased our business steadily over the last 5 years however our dumpster size has not as we’re always looking for ways to re-purpose or recycle things which have fulfilled their original use.” Even Skeeter, the office dog, gets into the act - by using paper role cores as chew toys. And when it’s time to change her drinking water, instead of heading down the drain it goes into the plants. Skeeter also helps make use of little bits of food that are extra on anyone’s lunch plate . . . . and then uses that energy to joyfully greet guests and entertain the staff.
So what can you DO? Regularly seek information from a variety of resources, make changes to your methods of energy generation/use and lastly, be ardent in communicating with each of your governmental representatives. Pennsylvania is one state that lags behind others when it comes to our percentage of renewably-resourced energy requirements. House Bill 100, introduced in February, would set new standards of 15 percent to be reached by 2023. Gov. Tom Wolf’s alternative energy proposal would bring an influx of funding into PA Sunshine Solar, a program which was last active in late in 2013. Communication with our Governor and Congressional reps is just one option available to every Pennsylvanian who wants to contribute personally to addressing energy issues. If you’re interested in reducing your energy costs and increasing your bottom line or disposable income, it’s worth a call to see how we can assist you. Lenape Solar- the right choice, for all the right reasons.For this article and more Click here to download a pdf of the latest issue.