UNION SQUARE — A truck that's been teaching Union Square Greenmarket customers how to cook healthy, sustainable, locally-grown goodies took another step toward green utopia Saturday, hooking their truck up to solar panels.
With a literal flip of the switch, nonprofit group GrowNYC, which oversees the city's farmers markets including the one in Union Square, started up their very own solar-powered kitchen on wheels with the help of the Green Mountain Energy Company, a national renewable energy company. The company collected 100 percent of the funds for the solar panels from customer donations through the Green Market Energy Sun Club, organizers said.
Organizers from Greenmarket have been putting on cooking demonstrations at the farmer's market for those wondering how to cook their greens. Now, thanks to the Green Mountain Energy Company's solar powered panels, the cooking demonstrations in the truck, which runs on bio-diesel, are pollution-free.
"Instead of burning butane, we're running solar-powered cooking demos for about 5,000 school tours every year," said Michael Hurwitz, the director of Greenmarket.
According to Paul Markovich, the President of Green Mountain Energy's Residental Services, the solar panels on average generate around 750 kilowatt hours per year of "pollution-free electricity," or about enough to power an average refrigerator for a year.
"We want to demonstrate that we can use renewable energy in everyday life," Markovich said. "And GrowNYC and Green Market Energy share the same vision of sustainable living."
Markovich and Doug Semmes, the director of Green Mountain Energy's New York Market, said there are already "tens of thousands" of subscribers to their sustainable energy products so far, and more expected to come.
"It is a few more dollars a month," said Semmes, "But you sign up know it's a premium product. It's a prime way to support clean energy.
"Most people find it's worth it," he said. "It's a rare opportunity to feel good about your electricity bill."