DUAL USE FOR ASHRAM’S SOLAR ARRAY
Om Namah Sivaya,
We are delighted to announce that last week, after 3 years of fundraising, planning, and construction, the Yoga Ranch’s 93 Kw solar array went operational! It should provide nearly all the electrical needs of the Ashram, including car-charging facilities. Supporting the new solar panels, is a beautiful steel carport which will serve as the new Ashram parking lot. In addition, spring will bring landscaping opportunities, and a transformation of the entrance to the Ashram.
We were recently approached by a freelance journalist, and the following article appeared in the local newspaper, the Sullivan County Democrat on January 31st.
DUAL USE FOR ASHRAM’S SOLAR ARRAY
By Margaret Bruetsch
Originally published in the Sullivan County Democrat Tuesday Jan. 31, 2017
WOODBOURNE – The new solar array at the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch in Woodbourne seeks to follow the mission of founder Swami Vishnudevananda’s belief that yoga is not only a tool for peace, but a way to connect people to each other and the environment.
“This was the vision of Mark Ashley, the director of the Ashram here,” Manager Swami Paramananda explained. Ashley, also known as Srinivasan, was a direct student of founder Vishnudevananda.
The Sivananda Ashram is part of a worldwide organization started by Swami Vishnudevananda, who came from India to the United States at the end of the1950s and dedicated his life to spreading yoga around world.
“His teachings of classical yoga was that yoga was meant to bring peace to the world. His vision was to help an evolution of consciousness to take place.” Paramananda said, “Yoga looks at life as a whole, meaning we are all connected as individuals, and we are also connected with the planet and we need to care for the planet.”
The Ashram is currently working to be as sustainable as possible, including food production on premises, while teaching attendees through various workshops and courses how individuals can help the planet. The solar panel array fits right in to this mission, while offering a unique twist.
“The solar panels themselves are standard, but they are put up onto a car port so people can park under them. “ Project Manager for RER Energy Gordon Smith explained. RER Energy is the company that has installed, built and will maintain the solar array. “They actually will have electrical vehicle charging stations underneath them.”
The focus at the Ashram specifically regarding the solar arrays revolves around the idea of sustainability, while performing a dual use.
“It kind of maximizes the aesthetic appearance of solar panels,” Smith explained. “This gives you a parking space with solar panels on top of it. You’re not cluttering up the landscape with solar panels because you’ve incorporated them into another structure.”
Additionally, the Ashram will benefit from the installed solar panels by receiving a reduction on its electric bill trough a power-purchase agreement with RER Energy. While RER Energy feeds the power generated through a meter back to the power company, the power produced will be applied against the Ashram’s electric bill. In essence, the Ashram buys power from RER Energy at a reduced rate per a contract.
“Thanks to a thing called net metering which is offered in New York State, that power is then applied against the yoga ranch’s electric bill.” Gordon Smith said. Smith feels that the solar array offers a majority of pros, without any foreseeable cons, “Not only are they producing their own clean electricity, but they’re getting it at a reduced rate.”