American Legion looking to install solar panels – Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — When Mike Loriz was serving as a Navy fighter pilot during the first Gulf War, he thought he was working to rid Kuwait of an unwelcome invader.

“However, one relative wrote that she was proud of me for serving, but wished it was not a case of fighting for oil,” Loriz wrote recently in a letter to Port Townsend’s Historic Preservation Committee.

“With hindsight, I realized she could have a point. Since then, I have considered it to be a mandatory responsibility to use the sun and wind for power as much as possible.”

In that letter, Loriz, who serves as 1st vice commander of American Legion Post 26 in downtown Port Townsend, asked the committee to support the Legion’s plan to install an array of solar panels on the southeast side of the 1941 building’s roof.

This digital rendering produced by Cascadia Solar, a division of Frederickson Electric, shows how an array of solar panels would be positioned on the south-facing side of the roof of American Legion Post 26 in downtown Port Townsend. (Image courtesy of Frederickson Electric)

This digital rendering produced by Cascadia Solar, a division of Frederickson Electric, shows how an array of solar panels would be positioned on the south-facing side of the roof of American Legion Post 26 in downtown Port Townsend. (Image courtesy of Frederickson Electric)

At its Tuesday meeting, the committee voted unanimously to recommend approval of the project, a decision that ultimately rests with the director of the city’s Development Services Department, Lance Bailey.

John McDonagh, a senior planner with the department who acts as a liaison to the committee, said he expects the project will be approved in the next couple of weeks with the condition that a building permit is obtained.

“I think the general feeling among the committee members was that we’re in a time of doing things differently and that taking strategies to combat climate change are important,” said Richard Berg, who chairs the committee tasked with reviewing development proposals within the city’s historic districts.

Loriz said he couldn’t agree more, especially in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which forced the Legion to close its doors and the bar that accounts for most of its revenue.

“Once COVID hit, our main source of revenue dried up,” he said, noting the local veterans organization doesn’t expect to reopen until Jefferson County enters Phase 4 of the Gov. Jay Inslee’s paused “Safe Start” plan. “These solar panels will really help us survive in the long term financially.”

David Campbell Jr., solar project manager at Frederickson Electric’s Cascadia Solar, is handling the project for the Legion. He told the committee the project would offset 68 percent the Legion’s electrical usage, saving the nonprofit $60,000 over 25 years.

“The site would also serve as an example of positive change towards a clean energy future and a step to reduce climate change, nuclear waste and hydropower impacts on salmon,” he wrote in his application to the committee.

The Legion aims to offset the rest of its electrical bill with additional energy-efficiency improvements, Loriz said, including switching all light bulbs to LEDs and replacing its traditional tank-based water heater with a tankless heater.

“We’re on a top-to-bottom efficiency push,” he said. “Between all these things, we’ll be pretty close to carbon neutral, at least as far as electricity goes.”

With little money in the bank, the nearly $50,000 project will be paid for with donations from local Legion members and the community.

In July, Loriz launched a GoFundMe fundraiser to supplement $30,000 in contributions from members.

By early September, Loriz had reach his goal.

“We’re just so grateful for the donations from the community,” he said. “The support has just been fantastic.”

Before he moved to Port Townsend in 2014, Loriz spent five years as commander of Post 281 in Queens, N.Y., before the post was taken over by the city, he said.

“We went bust in the early part of the Great Recession,” he said, citing a national trend of declining membership and rising facility costs that put many American Legion posts in a challenging financial position.

“When I came out here, I was worried we might be on that same path,” he said. “So a couple of us here at the Legion have been looking at ways to save money.”

Loriz first put solar panels on his home, back in New York, 15 years ago. He did the same when he moved to Port Townsend.

“We make a little more electricity than we use every year, and that’s a good feeling,” he said. “If we can all do a better job of conserving, going toward wind and solar, we can get away from our whole dependence on oil and save money in the long run.”

________

Jefferson County senior reporter Nicholas Johnson can be reached by phone at 360-417-3509 or by email at [email protected]. <!–

–> <!–

–>

Source: https://www.peninsuladailynews.com/news/american-legion-looking-to-install-solar-panels/

« »
Malcare WordPress Security