Four years, four sometimes long, frustrating years, it has taken to enable a developer to build a solar canopy over the parking lot that produces electricity sold to the City of Palo Alto under an arrangement known as a feed-in tariff. Few believed it would be easy to transition to renewable energy sources, and this one project has been really difficult and frustrating.
However, my purpose today is not to recount difficulties; rather, I want to express our gratitude for those in our congregation who have worked to make it happen. So here goes—with apology in advance to anyone I overlook.
Richard Cassel: All along he has used his electronic knowledge and power supply know-how to keep the City of Palo Alto honest and responsible. It was he, for example, who identified that the City had failed to implement its promise to upgrade the electrical service on Charleston, an upgrade the City asked UUCPA or the developer to pay for in order to connect the system. When Richard pointed out their failure, the City performed the upgrade.
Wynne Furth employed her legal know-how and her knowledge of city government to keep everyone on track during the early years of the project. In particular, she found a law firm experienced in solar to create a usable contract between UUCPA and the developer, Komuna Energy.
Fred Buelow’s business acumen was critical to assessing Komuna’s proposals and any possible tax implications for UUCPA to engage in a commercial project.
Craig Lewis brought Komuna and UUCPA together and thereby kickstarted the project.
Sally Ahnger endured difficult and frustrating challenges from Komuna (which recently sold the project), Sprig Electric and the City of Palo Alto. Thanks to her the southeast section of the front garden doesn’t have a large ugly piece of equipment facing Charleston. Thanks to her insistence, Sprig paid to relandscape that area of the garden. Nancy Neff and Glenda Jones created the garden design and oversaw or did the new planting.
Others who have contributed significantly are:
Buzz Frahn, legal services
David Chen, Finance and Facilities support
Jeff Cashdollar coped with chaos again and again
Rafael Gomez, Finance
Sven Thesen, Promoter-in-Chief
Vanessa Warheit, Promoter-in-Chief
I hope you will thank each of these key contributors the next time you see him or her. And please join us on the patio for a celebratory cake. We did it together and the system is now sending power to the grid every day and reducing the use of natural gas to generate electricity. It can even make parking on rainy days a little drier than in the past.