Earth Day – It Should be Every Day

April is always a busy month for anyone with a bit of green in them and this is the week for premier events.

greenfestCelebration

The fourth annual GreenFest and the 17th annual Festival of Communities are being combined this Saturday, April 20, 11:00 AM -6:00 PM on the UNLV campus. This is a major event that you won’t want to miss, honoring National Earth Day while also celebrating the rich cultural diversity of UNLV and the Las Vegas Valley. Admission and parking are free.

The combined festivals invite community partners, non-profits, organizations, schools, students, and families to explore and be inspired.  The event will feature more than 150 student and community vendor displays, with live music and dance performances, UNLV campus tours, a farmer’s market, beer garden and cultural food from around the world.  A designated kids zone will have crafts and games, bounce houses, balloon art, magic, face painting, inflatable bumper cars and a human fly trap.

“Festival of Communities showcases the cultural breath of the UNLV community and the undergraduates research conducted in the Las Vegas valley.  The festival has become a celebration of culture, innovation and art that reflects the diversity of Southern Nevada.”

– Randy McCrillis, UNLV

Earth Day activities include a Recycled Wear fashion show, natural gas truck experience, solar and eco-car displays, renewable energy exhibits, Republic Services recycling display, CCSD recycling bin art contest and free on-site recycling collections.

“We are proud to present what has become the largest community Earth Day celebration in Southern Nevada.  Brought to the community by a network of likeminded organizations, businesses and individuals.  GREENFest offers something for everyone.”

– Annette Bubak, Green Alliance/co-founder

Residents are encouraged to bring down their recyclables and used items for free recycling collections; Shred-It Las Vegas will collect personal documents for shredding, the Blind Center will accept electronics and Republic Services will accept commingled recyclables from your home or office.   New to GREENFest this year is a repurpose collection.  Partners from HELP of Southern Nevada will collect gently used clothing for infants to middle school students and Project 150 LV will collect used clothing, shoes, sports equipment, suits and prom dresses for high school students.

“We hope those who attend will not only learn about a sustainable lifestyle but also will develop an appreciation and understanding of the cultural diversity and environmental resources that our great community offers.”

– Tracy Skenandore, Republic Services/co-founder

Competition

The event will also showcase DesertSol, UNLV’s entry into the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon this year. DesertSol is designed as an ultra-efficient house that celebrates sustainable living in the Mojave Desert using solar as the only fuel source. Team Las Vegas has been working hard on DesertSol. The main thing to remember is that this is a huge undertaking and they need your help. Check out their newly updated website to learn more about the project and how you can support the team.

DesertSol will have a lasting impact on our community since Team Las Vegas has announced that it will have a permanent residence at the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas following the competition in October.

Head’s Up on Clean Energy

Global Warming SucksAs if on cue for Earth Day, NV Energy’s SolarGenerations program will accept applications for the next round of solar energy projects beginning April 22 until May 17 at 5 PM. Successful applicants will be eligible for rebates to help offset their installation costs for photovoltaic panels that convert sunlight into electricity.  At the close of the application period, if any category is oversubscribed, participants will be chosen by a lottery conducted by a third party.

Residential customers, small businesses, schools and public buildings are eligible to participate in the program, which was established by the Nevada State Legislature in 2003 to encourage Nevadans to invest directly in renewable energy. Participants must be NV Energy electric customers.

Rebates for the next round of projects range from $1.25 to $1.35 for residential customers and small businesses, and from $2.80 to $3.10 for schools and public buildings. You can visit the SolarGenerations webpage for a detailed description of how the incentives will be allocated.

NV Energy customers interested in applying for SolarGenerations are encouraged get more information by reviewing the Program Handbook located on the website. Anyone with questions about the application process can call toll-free at 866-786-3823 or contact the program by email at [email protected]

SolarGenerations is one of several renewable energy programs offered through NV Energy’s RenewableGenerations initiative. Since the start of the program, customers have installed more than 35 megawatts of solar power in Nevada.

When weighing your options for solar power, be sure to consider the renewable energy credits (RECs, also referred to as portfolio energy credits, PECs or PCs) that your system will produce. If you accept a rebate from NV Energy, your RECs will be permanently assigned to them. If you forgo the rebate and keep your RECs, you can still claim a 30% federal tax credit on the total cost of the system and you will have the opportunity to sell your RECs directly. I suppose it is appropriate for Nevada that it is a bit of a gamble since the market for RECs is still maturing. Sales and prices are not guaranteed at this point. A previous column, Save Money – Go Solar, also explored this alternative scenario.

If your primary interest is the lowest first cost, going for the rebate might make the most sense. The low cost of photovoltaic panels along with the tax credit make an attractive deal that works for many, even without the rebate. That is the path I would take if I were doing it over again.

Enjoy the spring weather and have a great Earth Day – no matter what day it is!