Written by: Chris Spahr
On May 8, we had the honor of hosting the Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT) and Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower and Rebuild (POWER) at Letitia House, our new headquarters in Fairmount Park. We were fortunate to be chosen as one of their resting points on the first day of their 100- mile walk through PECO’s service area dubbed the Walk for Green Jobs and Justice. For over a year, these two groups have been calling on PECO, the state’s largest utility, to focus on solar installations.
During the visit, the walkers shared their visions for how solar power can bring local jobs and energy security. Through their Power Local Green Jobs campaign, the walkers are working across communities to demand green jobs come to the high unemployment areas of the Philadelphia region.
Anthony Giancatarino and Jean Mitchell of the Centennial Parkside CDC present to EQAT and POWER representatives.
The gathering at the Letitia House came at a very important time when the Centennial Parkside CDC’s vision for creating an energy reinvestment zone in Parkside is becoming more of a reality. In March, the CDC was selected from an early set of applicants to participate in the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative’s Solar in Your Community Challenge, a $5 million prize competition aimed to expand solar electricity access. Awarded $10,000 in technical assistance, Centennial Parkside CDC will use this money over the next 18 months to develop innovative solar projects that enable the Parkside neighborhood to go solar.
The CDC plans to develop 1,250kW of solar power to sell energy to the local cultural institutions. The power will benefit both the cultural institutions and the revenue derived from selling the power will be recycled back into the community to support programs and services that benefit residents of Parkside. This will be the first such project of its kind and scale in the city Philadelphia.
It was an honor to be recognized by EQAT and POWER as a CDC that is making strides towards creating green jobs and bringing affordable, sustainable energy to low and moderate-income communities. After some great conversation and a delicious lunch catered by the local Spiro’s Restaurant, the walkers continued on their journey to push for a shift to locally generated solar power in the Philadelphia region.