The Flywheel

Program for November 10th, 2006

"We can do it! And we did it!"

Lois Boyle of the Richmond Museum Association will offer stories and images about our city's essential role in the homefront of World War II.


Meeting of October 20th, 2006

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

The note taker arrived to find Prez George Egan's bell had already been rung and all were welcomed to Richmond Rotary.

Visiting Rotarians

Welcome Pat Robertson, a resident of Richmond and a member of Orinda Rotary.


• Readers at Peres Elementary School are still needed for Wed., Nov. 15; contact Margaret Morkowski

• Save Friday, December 1 for the Richmond/El Cerrito Rotary Holiday party. For details, follow the link in the sidebar.

• This year's auction is December 15. Be creative in your contribution.

Special Events

Who am I? Cory Lawrence knows! The youngest member of our club grew up in Fresno, lives in Dublin and plans to move to Richmond with his new bride (Cory became engaged last week!). His mom was a school teacher while his dad worked for the Department of Labor and the FBI and jumped out of airplanes. Cory and his brother took a different path. Cory's brother is in retail/commercial and Cory is in commercial real estate working as Senior Associate for Cushman Wakefield with John Troughton as his mentor. Way to go, Cory! We're glad to have you in Richmond Rotary.


Leslie Levy was at the podium and called upon Don Lau whose father will celebrate his  90th birthday this weekend. Charlie Fender and Clavel celebrated 64 years of wedded bliss last September.

Happy and Sad Dollars

Mike Gilbert had sad dollars for the passing of his wife's aunt. Nick Despota turned his good fortune at finding ten dollars into a happy moment. Ted Abreu is happy that daughter Elizabeth is expecting his first granddaughter on New Years Day 07. David Brown was impressed to find flyers from the Superior Court (compliments of Prez George) seeking comment.

Raffle Results

Erle Brown is a winner!! He splits a whopping $749 with his club.

The Program

Jim Young introduced guest speaker Mike Hall, with Borrego Solar ( His company has bragging rights to the largest number of photovoltaic (PV) panel installations in California over the last 25 years. Mike addressed the history and incentives for using solar power. He presented pie charts that illustrated the facts: we rely on fossil fuels (gas, coal and petroleum) for 86% of our needs; renewable sources like wind, water and sun is the rest of the pie. Solar has just .06% of that market.

The ability to harness energy through a PV panel was invented in 1839. For reasons we'll leave to another speaker, it's development for consumer use was inert until California offered tax credits in the 1980s. Coinciding with oil availability, the tax incentives went away - and so did commercial improvement of the product.

Enter 2006 Federal incentives. Suddenly interest is peaked again and with any luck, product efficiency will be improved as a result. Perhaps the most intriguing concept is the notion of watching your meter go backwards during the day while your panels feed energy to PG&E. Alas, this grid-tied solution stops short of earning cash over and above what you use, but if planned correctly you can bring your electric bill nearly down to nothing. Lots of details were discussed. Panels aren't for every roof - but most. Batteries are inefficient, so a generator or the grid is better when the sun's not shining. Advancements in converting DC to AC to match the electrical current needs of appliances makes solar power 'cleaner' than PG&E's electricity. And finally, evidence that commercial building developers can be leaders in adopting solar energy can be found right here in Richmond, at McCoy on Barrett. The developer? Richmond Rotary's Mark Howe.

Thank you Mike Hall for your informative presentation and willingness to answer our barrage of questions!

Respectfully submitted -jan b nimble