Something new under the sun

  • Published
  • By Richard Oram
  • 911th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Members from the 911th Airlift Wing attended a solar power seminar May 3, 2018, as part of the 911th AW’s belated Earth Day celebrations.

Sharon Pillar, a consultant advocate for solar energy and sustainable communities, spoke to the members about solar energy in Pennsylvania.  During the seminar they learned about the benefits of solar energy and how it can be applied to homes in Pennsylvania – for instance, a home in western Pennsylvania can produce as much solar electricity as a solar home in Arizona by simply adding an extra solar panel.

Brian Keenan, civilian in the Civil Engineering Department, asked about the cost of a solar system for a residency.  Pillar answered that the cost of doing nothing- not going solar- will be about $30,000-$35,000 dollars over the next 25 years.  The average solar system after the federal tax credit is around $14,000  and will result in a $15,000 savings.

At the end of the seminar, Dave Oleksa, sponsor of the seminar and environmental engineer with the 911th AW’s Civil Environmental Engineering Department, gave each attendee a pumpkin plant, stating that at the end of the growing season the person with the largest pumpkin will win a prize. 

For more information on solar power, contact Sharon Pillar at or 412.215.5995.