Federal Recovery Funds Making PA Leader in Solar Energy, Putting People to Work

Jan 20, 2010, 13:48 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

$9.5 Million for Eight Projects Will Leverage $46 Million; Governor Says PA Must Update Renewable Energy Requirements

HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Eight large-scale solar projects in Pennsylvania that will create jobs while generating clean energy will receive a substantial boost from $9.5 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding, Governor Edward G. Rendell announced today.

"This investment is critically important to strengthening Pennsylvania's economy not only because of the private capital it will attract and the jobs it will create, but because of the great economic potential the renewable energy industry holds for our state," said Governor Rendell.  

"Solar power is an increasingly important part of our electricity generation capability and, consequently, our economy. That's why we've made an earnest commitment to ensuring more solar projects, solar manufacturers, and related industries establish operations here. We're now on track to be one of the top five states for producing solar energy by the end of the year," the Governor said.

"This sizable, $9.5 million investment through the federal Recovery Act is helping to make that possible by supporting eight projects that will put 149 people to work, stimulate another $46 million in private investments and, once completed, will generate enough electricity to power 1,200 homes annually."

The Governor added that the projects, which total more than 10 megawatts of generation capacity, will produce enough clean electricity to offset more than 8,500 tons in carbon emissions, or the equivalent of removing nearly 1,500 passenger vehicles from the road.

The projects also account for more than double the four megawatts of capacity that Pennsylvania had just one year ago.

"Counting these 10 megawatts made possible through our Green Energy Works! Solar program, there are 65 megawatts of new solar capacity under development today," said the Governor. "Boosting solar production benefits consumers because it allows us to take advantage of a free resource that is abundant when we need it most -- the hottest days of the year when power demand is typically highest, which puts immense pressure on the distribution grid and makes electricity more expensive. And it benefits the environment because solar power is emission-free, which helps fight smog, mercury, soot and carbon pollution, making the air easier to breathe."

The Green Energy Works! Solar program is one of four competitive grant opportunities that use green jobs to create green energy and to stimulate economic development. Biogas, combined heat and power and wind are the other three. All solar projects must create jobs, be able to start work within six months, and be completed within 24 months and prior to April 30, 2012.

The Governor also renewed his call for the General Assembly to strengthen the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act in order to keep Pennsylvania competitive with other states and nations vying for clean energy projects.

"Our nearly six-year-old standards have been surpassed by other states, which puts Pennsylvania at risk of losing out on multi-million-dollar, job-creating clean energy projects," the Governor explained. "Additionally, if we fail to aggressively expand our nation's renewable energy industry, we could fall behind nations like China and India that are pursuing solar, wind and other renewable energy projects."

For more information on how federal stimulus money is bolstering Pennsylvania's clean energy economy, visit www.recovery.pa.gov and click on "Energy" under the "Where is Your Money Going" heading.

For additional information on Green Energy Works! visit the Department of Environmental Protection's Office of Energy and Technology Deployment at www.depweb.state.pa.us or call 717-783-8411.

Editor's Note: The following is a list, by county, of the eight projects receiving Green Energy Works! Solar grants. To put each project's generation capacity into context, an average home in Pennsylvania uses approximately 10 megawatt hours, or 10,000 kilowatt hours, of electricity annually.


UGI Development Co. -- $1.29 million for the Temple Solar Project, which will install a 1.0 MW solar facility on approximately seven acres of land on the UGI Energy Services Inc. propane plant in Ontelaunee Township. The solar facility will be used to offset some of the annual energy requirements of the existing facility. Solar capacity: 1 MW

Annual megawatt hours generated: 876

Annual CO2 reduction: 546 tons


Scheuten Solar USA Inc. -- $3 million for the Keystone Industrial Port Complex 1 project that will convert a brownfield into a 5-megawatt solar power plant. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2010 and will create jobs during development, construction and operation.

Solar capacity: 5 MW

Annual megawatt hours generated: 6,483

Annual CO2 reduction: 3,928 tons


Longwood Gardens Inc. -- $1.3 million to install a ground-mounted 1 megawatt solar photovoltaic system. The project is part of a larger plan that includes energy efficiency and conservation measures. It will offset nearly 20 percent of the energy use at Longwood Gardens, reducing the strain on the local power grid during peak demand periods. The project will create 20 temporary, full-time jobs.

Solar capacity: 1 MW

Annual megawatt hours generated: 1,210

Annual CO2 reduction: 1,367 tons


UGI Development Co. -- $655,000 for the Steelton Solar Project that will install a 500 kW solar facility on approximately five acres of land at the UGI Energy Services Inc. propane plant in Steelton Borough and Swatara Township. The solar facility will be used to offset the annual energy use of the existing storage facility.

Solar capacity 0.5 MW

Annual megawatt hours generated: 438

Annual CO2 reduction: 273 tons


Edinboro University of Pennsylvania -- $474,000 to build a 210 kW roof-mounted solar array at the McComb Fieldhouse. The project will generate electricity that will be used for operation and maintenance work, and will allow the university to market and sell solar renewable energy credits. The project will create 10 skilled labor jobs and be completed in September.

Solar capacity: 0.21 MW

Annual megawatt hours generated: 227

Annual CO2 reduction: 222 tons


Merck & Co. Inc. -- $875,000 to integrate a 1,500-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system into an existing parking garage while maintaining existing parking capacity at the Upper Gwynedd campus. The project will also install plug-in hybrid and electric vehicle recharging stations powered by the solar system. This will create the first known zero-emission vehicle fueling station in Pennsylvania. The project will create 25 construction jobs.

Solar capacity: 1.5 MW

Annual megawatt hours generated: 1,695

Annual CO2 reduction: 1,022 tons


UGI Development Co. -- $1.27 million to install a 1-MW solar facility on approximately five acres of land at the Crayola plant in Easton. The solar facility will be an expansion of a 2.0-MW solar facility UGI Development Co. is co-developing, and will be used to offset some of the annual energy requirements of the existing facility.

Solar capacity: 1 MW

Annual megawatt hours generated: 876

Annual CO2 reduction: 409 tons


Philadelphia Housing Authority -- $700,000 to install 1,609 solar panels on low-income housing at Plymouth Hall, Paschall Homes, Warnock Place, and Mantua Square, and connect the system to the PECO SmartGrid. Two of the sites will demonstrate the hybrid system of solar panels on an eco-roof system, and will compare the photovoltaic energy output to non-hybrid sites. This project will create 14 full-time equivalent construction jobs and stimulate investment interest in photovoltaic technologies throughout the Delaware Valley.

Solar Capacity: 0.325 MW

Annual megawatt hours generated: 644

Annual CO2 reduction: 736 tons

Media contacts:

John Repetz, DEP; 717-787-1323

Gary Tuma, Governor's Office; 717-783-1116

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection