Green jobs campaign demands PECO increase solar by 2025

Singing gospel and labor-inspired songs, a hundred and fifty clergy, Quakers, youth, and seniors called for bold action on new solar jobs. This was the largest action yet in the Power Local Green Jobs Campaign, packing the plaza outside PECO Headquarters to announce a major expansion: demanding that PECO spur the creation of thousands of jobs in local high-unemployment areas by committing to get 20% of its electricity from rooftop solar by 2025.

5 Counties by Kaytee Ray-Riek

Marching with the 5 counties of the PECO service area.
Photo by Kaytee Ray-Riek

“God has given us a power source that rises every morning,” said Bishop Royster, Executive Director of Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower, and Rebuild (POWER). “It’s time for us to tap that, so families will no longer need to worry about the power getting shut off.”


“We have two deeply connected issues: job-hungry communities and climate change. And we’re running out of time,” said Ingrid Lakey, a volunteer with Earth Quaker Action Team, the organizers of today’s action. “Reaching 20% by 2025 is essential to step off the path of climate destruction. Meeting that goal will require putting more people to work.”


With a 24-foot map of the 5-county region, faith leaders facilitated an open-air strategy session to expand the campaign across PECO’s service area in Southeast Pennsylvania. Urged by the solar industry’s high rate of job production [1], the community groups have called for this development to begin in North Philadelphia, and spread to other high unemployment areas.


The prominent advocacy group Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN) became the latest organization to support the green jobs campaign today. “The cascade of multiple benefits that will result from stimulating local solar jobs include renewable energy with higher efficiency, a smaller environmental footprint, and sustainable economic expansion for Philadelphia,” said Tracy Carluccio, DRN Deputy Director.  


PECO has shown signs of feeling the people-pressure [2]. Following a dozen protest actions by EQAT, and shortly after the interfaith group POWER--representing sixty congregations--joined in, PECO finally took a small step forward. Although coming short of the demand to purchase local solar and create jobs, PECO recently announced a solar stakeholder collaborative to advance local solar. Celebrating this tiny movement with tiny cupcakes, the activists vowed to ensure the process brings thousands of new solar jobs to high-unemployment communities.

Rabbi Julie Greenberg by Kaytee Ray-Riek
Rabbi Julie Greenberg speaking at the action. Photo by Kaytee Ray-Riek



This action is part of Breakfree, a global wave of mass actions targeting the world’s most dangerous fossil fuel projects. This week, actions on every continent are working to keep coal, oil and gas in the ground and accelerate the just transition to 100% renewable energy.


Earth Quaker Action Team includes Quakers and people of diverse beliefs using nonviolent direct action to build a just and sustainable economy. EQAT (pronounced “equate”) won its first campaign in 2015, forcing PNC Bank to halt millions of dollars of financing to companies engaged in mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia. Following that success, EQAT’s new campaign is pressuring local utility PECO to Power Local Green Jobs through solar expansion, particularly in North Philadelphia.