Environmental Protection

Pennsylvania Invests $10 M in 12 New Solar Projects

Pennsylvania is bolstering its position as a leader in solar energy with new investments of more than $10 million in 12 new projects, Gov. Edward G. Rendell said following the Commonwealth Financing Authority's approval of the projects.

The total installed capacity of the planned projects is a little more than 9.1 megawatts, or enough to power approximately 1,000 homes.

"From helping a school district become more energy efficient to transforming a brownfield … into a solar field, we're helping to pave the way for a cleaner, greener economy in Pennsylvania," Rendell said. "Pennsylvania is committed to creating a vibrant solar industry because it is of strategic importance to our state's future. By the end of 2010, thanks in large part to the programs and policies we've enacted since 2003 with the help of the legislature, we expect that Pennsylvania will rank in the top five states for solar."

The Commonwealth Financing Authority administers Pennsylvania's economic stimulus programs, including portions of the $650 million Alternative Energy Investment Fund.

Some of the projects are listed below, by county:

Adams County
Adams Electric Cooperative Inc. will receive an $84,240 solar energy program grant to install a ground-mounted solar generation system at its headquarters in Cumberland Township. The co-op plans to install 192 solar panels to reduce summer peak-demand costs, grid congestion and its overall carbon footprint, and to foster interest and help educate its members and the public about solar energy as a sustainable energy source. The total project cost is $321,006.

Allegheny County
Flabeg Solar U.S. Corp. will receive a $505,000 solar energy program grant to purchase and install machinery and equipment for a second silvering line for its facility in Findlay Township. Initially, the facility contained one silvering line that applied silver finish to parabolic solar mirrors, but the second line is necessary to meet the increased demand for solar thermal power tower plants. The project will create 101 jobs over the next three years. The total project cost is $9.3 million.

Allegheny County will receive a $154,068 solar energy program grant to purchase and install a rooftop solar thermal system on the Allegheny County Jail in Pittsburgh. The 900,000-square-foot jail was built in 1995 and houses nearly 3,000 inmates. The new system will offset a significant portion of hot water costs by preheating about 10,000 gallons per day. The total project cost is $308,136.

Cumberland County
Big Spring School District will receive a $35,000 solar energy program grant to buy and install a photovoltaic roof panel system for the proposed new Plainfield Elementary School in West Pennsboro Township. The school district intends to achieve a LEED Gold target rating for the building. The 60,000-square-foot school will educate up to 450 pupils. The total project cost is $160,000.

Knouse Foods Cooperative Inc. will receive a $3.5 million solar energy program grant to construct a solar photovoltaic field on an 18-acre site in Dickinson Township. The site, which is located on nine acres of brownfield land that was once used for fruit waste 25 years ago, will be home to a 3.155-megawatt photovoltaic generating facility. The $19 million project will retain 22 full-time jobs and create three seasonal jobs.

Dauphin County
Lower Paxton Township will receive a $3 million solar energy grant to install a 3-megawatt solar photovoltaic system at its landfill. The electricity generated will be used to offset the township's cost to operate the nearby Swatara Township Authority's wastewater treatment facility. The total project cost is $16 million.

Luzerne County
Romark Logistics of Pa., will receive a $2.1 million solar energy program grant toward building a 2-megawatt rooftop solar array at its 525,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution facility in Hazle Township, allowing the company to reduce its carbon footprint and gain better control over electricity costs. The total project cost is $9.5 million.

Philadelphia County
IBEW Local Union 98 will receive a $13,590 solar energy program grant to buy and install a solar photovoltaic system on the roof of its business office. Along with the energy generation benefits, the project will allow workers to be trained for the solar PV industry. The total project cost is $84,324.

IBEW Local Union 98 Apprentice Training received a $4,530 solar energy program grant to buy and install a rooftop solar photovoltaic system on the roof of its building. The total project cost is $70,018.

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