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Pennsylvania invests US$5m in solar

The state of Pennsylvania will strengthen its position as a leader in solar energy.

“We have made remarkable progress in making Pennsylvania a leader in renewable energy in a very short period of time,” says Governor Edward Rendell. “We've invested nearly US$1 billion in projects that put 8300 people to work and now, with the Federal Recovery funds President Obama and Congress wisely dedicated to the renewable sector, we're able to achieve even more growth.”

Funding will come from the US$650m Alternative Energy Investment Fund that Rendell signed in 2008.

State to rank in top 5 for solar

“We are making tremendous strides in bringing more solar capacity on line,” adds Rendell. “By December 2010, Pennsylvania will rank in the top five states for solar in terms of megawatts operating.”

With the new programmes, the state’s total solar capacity will be 60 MW.

“Some of the projects I’m announcing today will reduce the annual energy consumption of their owners by as much as half,” adds Rendell. “Pennsylvania’s commitment to creating a vibrant solar industry will reduce the consumption of costly, traditional fuels, with clean, efficient sunlight that doesn’t cost a penny.

“That provides savings to businesses and municipalities, and ensures that the commonwealth remains a leader in the development and deployment of green technologies,” he says.

Approved projects

The 13 solar projects that will receive energy investment grants include:

  1. Axion Power Manufacturing will receive US$298,605 to assist with solar energy storage research and development at its facility in Neshannock Township.  The company is developing a renewable energy storage system and potential uses of the technology include increasing the value of power generation from solar panels and wind turbines;
  2. West Chester Borough will receive US$123,941 to construct a 68 kW solar system on a parking garage. The array above 689 parking spaces will produce 77 MWh/a to be used to power high-efficiency LED lighting. The borough intends to make the solar project a visible addition to the community with on-line access to energy production data, educational links between the project and school curriculum, and dissemination of the technology and benefits;
  3. Montoursville Area School District will receive US$35,000 to install a 20 kW solar roof system at a school in Montoursville. The solar array will generate 22,000 kWh/a and provide electricity to the school’s library, which will be located directly beneath the solar system;
  4. Sterman Masser will receive US$1 million to install a 1 MW solar array on 6 acres in Hubley Township that will generate 1.1 GWh hours of electricity a year that will be used at the company’s potato processing plant, located 0.5 mile from the solar site;
  5. Orion Energy Systems will receive US$436,800 to install a 240 kW rooftop solar system on the a parking facility at Philadelphia International Airport. The array will cover 35,000 ft2 of roof space and produce 273 MWh/a that will be sold at below-market rates;
  6. Terradime will receive a US$44,000 to install a 25 kW rooftop solar PV system on a condominium building in Pittsburgh. The solar PV system will generate 28.5 MWh each year;
  7. VS Solar will receive US$1m to install a 800 kW rooftop solar system on a shopping centre in Warrington Township. Of 11 buildings on the property, 9 will be fitted with solar panels, to cover  90% of the centre’s electricity demand;
  8. SEC BESD Solar One will receive US$995,440 to install a 541 kW rooftop solar system on a secondary school in Boggs Township. SEC will own the solar system and sell its power to the school at a fixed rate of US$0.049/kWh for 25 years. The solar system will generate 670 MWh/a and meet 50% of the school’s demand;
  9. SEC BESD Solar One will receive US$445,280 to install a 242 kW solar system on an elementary school in Boggs Township. SEC sell the solar output for US$0.049/kWh and the solar PV panels will produce 299 MWh;
  10. Integrys Energy Services will receive US$500,000 to install a 387 kW solar system on 50,000 ft2 of land owned by a garden centre in Kennett Square. The project will generate 473,550 kWh/a and offset 22% of the facility’s peak load;
  11. Allen Distribution will receive US$580,000 to install a 400 kW solar system on the roof of its distribution facility in Carlisle, and generate 418,691 kWh/a;
  12. UGI Development will receive US$125,000 to install a 500 kW solar system on 7 acres at its propane storage facility in Swatara Township. The project will offset the total energy usage at the facility and generate 438 MWh/a;
  13. Positive Energy Pennsylvania will receive US$58,590 to install a 31 kW rooftop solar system at a city works building. The array will cover 2240 ft2 of rooftop space and provide 35.6 MWh/a that will be sold to Williams Township under a power purchase agreement at a rate of US$0.09/kWh for 20 years.

An average home in Pennsylvania uses 10 MWh of electricity each year.

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Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Solar electricity