MANHATTAN — The Union Square Greenmarket’s educational van is getting a solar upgrade.
Greenmarket staffers use the van to host demos and workshops that teach visitors about sustainable farming and fresh food. Now those educational programs will be powered by the sun.
The solar panel installation, which should be completed in the coming weeks, is made possible by Green Mountain Energy Company, a clean-energy provider that donated more than $16,500 to the organization that runs the Union Square Greenmarket, GrowNYC.
“We talk with the GrowNYC Greenmarket folks quite a bit because we operate under a similar mission of educating and providing opportunities to perpetuate sustainable living,” said Paul Markovich, president of Green Moutain Energy Company’s residential services.
“They brought to us the idea of incorporating solar power to their educational demonstration van,” he added. “The van will not only teach visitors of the Greenmarket about cooking with locally grown food, but also the benefits and opportunities of using renewable energy, like solar.”
Solar One, an educational nonprofit organization based in Kips Bay, will complete the installation.
Once the van is up and running on solar energy, Amanda Gentile, a spokeswoman for GrowNYC, said it will continue to provide a variety of programs centered on teaching Greenmarket shoppers and visitors about small-scale, sustainable farming in the New York region, as well as how to buy, prepare and cook farm-fresh products.
“The solar will enable us to power public programming, including education events,” Gentile explained. “It’s another way we keep the Greenmarket green, but it’s also a way we can engage more people."
The funds for the van renovation came from Green Mountain Energy’s Sun Club program, which uses donations from its energy customers to finance solar projects around the country.