A Greener Greenhouse: Solar Power at PHS Meadowbrook Farm

I’ve managed more than 60 solar donations in my tenure as Green Mountain Energy Sun Club® manager, and even though all of them have been rewarding experiences, our recent installation at Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) stands out as one of my favorites.

PHS is a natural partner for Green Mountain and the Sun Club—like us, they have deep roots in the community and passion for building a better, more sustainable planet. Every year, Philadelphians benefit from PHS’ beautification and city renewal projects, like their popular PHS Pop-Up Garden that transforms abandoned city lots into urban oases and social meet-up spots. They also send swarms of volunteers across the city to revitalize community spaces with new plants and flowers, in addition to their efforts to restore the Greater Philadelphia tree canopy through the Plant One Million campaign. They are also responsible for the world-renowned and award-winning annual Philadelphia Flower Show.

I was introduced to the PHS team in June 2012, and we started the process of exploring how solar could help them with their mission. They were all very enthusiastic and set out identifying opportunities for solar. After many months of careful analysis, we found our project: PHS Meadowbrook Farm, where most of the plants used for PHS programs are grown. Greenhouses require electricity to keep their plants warm and toasty in frigid Philadelphia winters, which made a solar energy system an obvious fit. Not only would the flowers use the sun to grow their own food, they would also benefit from its warmth year-round.

On October 11, 2014, I had the pleasure of returning to Meadowbrook Farm to officially dedicate the 10-kilowatt solar array, which will provide nearly 15,000 kilowatt-hours of pollution-free electricity to the greenhouses every year! The solar array, which includes one panel signed by Green Mountain Energy customers who helped make this donation possible, is installed on top of a newly constructed pavilion near the greenhouses, offering protection from the elements while taking advantage of the power of the sun. PHS President, Drew Becher, along with Green Mountain and PHS employees, joined me as we officially flipped the giant ceremonial light switch to commemorate this important milestone.

One of my favorite parts of my job (and there are many) is getting to work with non-profit organizations like PHS whose commitment to the community is evident in everything they do. I’m thrilled that, thanks to our customers, there is brand new solar energy in Philadelphia, and I’m even happier that it’s helping a non-profit like PHS better meet their important mission.

Learn more about Green Mountain’s work with PHS: