Student Group Aims to Encourage More Solar Panel Use

Last week, GM previewed tonight’s ANC meeting. One of the items is a presentation on the topic of solar energy by some group labeled Georgetown Energy. A Google search didn’t come up with an answer what exactly this group is. But hanging off the doorknobs of Georgetown yesterday was the answer. Georgetown Energy is a group of G.U. students who are committed to encouraging more solar panel use by area residents.

The website provides a couple handy guides such as one on the merits of installing solar panels. The group uses as a model a coop that was created in Mount Pleasant. But how likely is it that solar panels can find much of a home in Georgetown?

Building a solar panel  in Georgetown is probably even more difficult than in other neighborhoods. There are strict design review processes for Georgetown that could trip up an application. If the panels are visible at all from a public road, they must be approved by the Old Georgetown Board. GM could only find a couple applications to the OGB for solar panels in Georgetown over the last 5-6 years. In both cases, the OGB found that the panels weren’t viewable from the street so it was not under its jurisdiction. Such applications would then proceed to the Historical Preservation Review Board, but unfortunately GM could not find any decisions by the HPRB on solar panels.

All that said, it is a noble goal to have more people use solar panels. If it can work with Georgetown’s strict aesthetic standards, it can work anywhere.

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