Disco Biscuits go solar at Philadelphia school

bands_-_biscuits_-_solar.jpgLess than a year after The Disco Biscuits played a sold-out show in New York to raise money toward the purchase of solar panels for a school, the band visited the Albert M. Greenfield Elementary School in Philadelphia yesterday to see the results of their work.

“Bisco Power Mission,” a joint project between The Disco Biscuits, the non-profit organization HeadCount and Mercury Solar Systems, helped Greenfield become the first public school in Philadelphia to install roof-top solar panels. The $35,000 installation will save the school over $43,000 in energy costs over the next 25 years.

On Wednesday, Nov. 17 the band visited a class of fifth-graders who have been learning about solar energy, and then went to the roof to see the panels for themselves.

“It was pretty amazing to see how it all came together,” said Marc Brownstein, The Disco Biscuits’ bass player and the co-chair of HeadCount, an organization dedicated to fostering civic participation through the power of music. “We always talk about harnessing the energy that music generates – well in this case we literally made that happen.”

The output of the photovoltaic panels is displayed in real time on a video monitor in the lobby of the school, adding an educational element to the initiative.

“I love the fact that every time the kids come into the school they’re getting a little reminder about solar and renewable energy,” said Jon Gutwillig, the guitarist for The Disco Biscuits who helped conceive the project. “Some of those kids will grow up to be engineers, and be more likely to work in renewable energy because of it.”

Next to the monitor is a plaque listing the names of individual fans of The Disco Biscuits who helped make Bisco Power Mission possible by purchasing a commemorative poster in addition to a concert ticket.

“We’re really proud of the fact that our fans helped make this happen,” Brownstein said.

The Bisco Power Mission concert was held on March 21 at New York City’s Brooklyn Bowl, the largest music hall in the country to be recognized for its environmentally-friendly practices with LEED Certification. The concert raised $15,000 for “Greening Greenfield,” the organization that is heading up the school’s five-phase greening project. The Albert M. Greenfield Home and School Association contributed an additional $10,000, while Mercury Solar donated approximately $10,000 worth of labor and services. Magic Hat Brewing Company was also a sponsor of Bisco Power Mission.