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Flipping the Switch to Renewable Energy

Posted Thursday, January 23, 2020

Mount Grace and Quabbin Harvest have contributed to the sustainability of the North Quabbin and beyond by providing community members with fresh food and supporting local farms with a robust local market for their produce. The partnership began in 2014, when Mount Grace purchased the old Worker’s Credit Union building at 12 North Main Street in Orange to provide Quabbin Harvest with a new home.

In December 2019, the two organizations took another step towards sustainability thanks to a generous donation of 40 solar arrays, now installed on the roof of the building, that will contribute to lowering energy costs and overall carbon footprint of the food market. This incredible gift of sustainability was made possible by PhippenAdams Solar, Northeast Solar, and Janice & Steve Kurkoski, through a serendipitous introduction initiated by the late Peter Talmage.

Brian Adams and Morey Phippen are “committed to addressing climate change, redistribution of wealth, creating and fostering local jobs, and solarizing local non-profit organizations”. They work with Northeast Solar to install solar arrays at no cost for local nonprofits. To this date, 32 organizations have benefited, totaling 500 kW of solar energy for nonprofits in the area!

Back in March of 2019, the three parties came together to celebrate the solar project at Just Roots Community Farm, a Mount Grace protected farm in Greenfield. As avid proponents of renewable energy in their own community of Warwick and beyond, the Kurkoskis planted a seed to consider a similar gift for Mount Grace’s Quabbin Harvest building. The rest is history.

On February 6th, the many partners and players officially “flipped the switch” to renewable energy at the building in downtown Orange.The solar arrays were dedicated to the memory of Peter Talmage of Greenfield Community College. Peter was a remarkable engineer, a tireless teacher, and an inspiration to all who came within his aura. He was an instructor in the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency program at Greenfield Community College and often used his own net-zero house as a teaching ground for students. Although Peter and his wife Chris lived in Northfield for many years, and recently moved to Amherst, he left his mark in the North Quabbin area through the countless talks he gave at the North Quabbin Garlic & Arts Festival - on E-bikes, wind & solar power, building science, and “winserts”. A very practical person, with his eyes also on the heavens (he would schlep his telescope to the Northfield Creamy on starry nights!), Peter’s generous spirit lives on through this rooftop solar array and the many other projects that Peter inspired in his students, friends and colleagues.