Letting the Sunshine In | Project HOME

Letting the Sunshine In

  • John Bowie is working with partners to bring solar energy jobs to his North Philadelphia neighborhood / IMAGE: Michael Gainer

A member of the Project HOME community, John Bowie, was recently featured in Grid Magazine piece detailing a local coalition's efforts to get PECO to buy energy generated by solar panels installed onto North Philadelphia rooftops by local contractors, thus reducing residents' energy bills while at the same time creating jobs for the impoverished neighborhood. 

From the piece

One reason PECO has given in resisting EQAT’s demands is the absence of solar panels on North Philadelphia roofs. But then, PECO hasn’t met John Bowie.

Bowie is a tall man, silver-haired, and his bearing suggests an intensity that is at once passionate and weary. He leans in to speak and leans back to listen. He weighs each word.

Bowie represents Serenity Soular, a new company aspiring to turn its neighborhood into a source of well-paying solar energy installation jobs, creating skills and wealth from the ground up.

“On this block,” he says of the 1200 block of Seltzer Street, a narrow stretch of two-story homes just north of Lehigh where he and I arranged to meet, “we’ve got 18 houses here with roofs that are solar-ready,” Bowie said.

Last year, the Energy Coordinating Agency, a nonprofit dedicated to weatherizing homes and businesses in the tri-state area, installed new windows, siding and roofs on all but four of the homes on this block. Typically, getting the residents to buy in, show mortgages and give workers access can take months, but with Bowie and Serenity House—a neighborhood outreach center and home to Serenity Soular—it took an afternoon. The 1200 block of Seltzer knew and trusted them.

Definitely worth a read.