Quaker Activists Target PECO to Create North Philly Solar Jobs
December 17, PHILADELPHIA – With the ink of historic Paris climate change talks still fresh, a group of local Quakers are turning the spotlight on local utility company: PECO. Demanding that PECO benefit Philadelphia community residents with purchases of solar energy credits, 30 members of the Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT) decorated PECO’s company Christmas tree with wishes for a solar powered Philadelphia and local green jobs.
The group’s efforts are not the first. They have already forced PNC Bank to withdraw millions from the controversial practice of mountaintop removal coal mining.
EQAT’s latest demand is for PECO to source solar energy credits from local sources, specifically from North Philadelphia. Just a week ago, its members held a Quaker-style worship outside PECO’s headquarters to protest the company’s tiny commitment to solar energy.
PECO is mandated to purchase an additional 0.106% of their total energy in solar credits in 2016. EQAT’s demand is that they purchase this increment from local solar installations, rather than solar farms elsewhere. While PECO has met with the group twice, PECO has not yet disclosed where they will source their 2016 energy.
"The Paris deal confirms that renewable commitments need to grow ambitiously over the next 5 years. To do more, PECO can start by purchasing its 2016 solar increment from North Philadelphia rooftops and help build a distributed, renewable power supply in the local neighborhoods that need it most," said Walter Hjelt-Sullivan, an EQAT board member.
Small solar installations now make up a third of the solar power generated in the US. Pennsylvania lags far behind New Jersey in small solar installations. A commitment from PECO could supplement the falling cost of installation to spur solar development in Philadelphia.
Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT) is a nonviolent direct action group dedicated to building a just and sustainable economy. After winning a successful campaign to force PNC Bank to stop financing mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia, EQAT’s new campaign is pressuring PECO to Power Local Green Jobs. EQAT is perhaps the first direct action campaign to target a local utility company on solar expansion. More information is available at www.eqat.org.