PA’s Solar Capacity to Triple with Help of New State Investments

HARRISBURG, PA – July 15, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — Governor Edward G. Rendell today said Pennsylvania will triple its solar capacity with nearly $23 million in new grants and loans for companies throughout the state that are embracing the renewable energy industry. 

“From a 134-acre solar park in the northeast to hot water heaters for Pittsburgh firehouses, Pennsylvania is investing in its energy future,” Governor Rendell said. “Thanks to the groundwork we’ve laid during the past several years, we are ready to create a brighter future for Pennsylvania’s renewable energy industry while advancing our energy independence. 

“Even in this economic downturn, we’re creating jobs, expanding Pennsylvania’s manufacturing base and producing more environmentally friendly, home-grown energy options. These projects—which will also help consumers, businesses and local governments lower their energy costs and fossil fuel consumption—illustrate how Pennsylvania is becoming a leader in the renewable energy.” 

Eight projects were approved for funding by the Commonwealth Financing Authority yesterday. The grants and loans that were approved are funded by the solar energy program, a key component of the $650 million Alternative Energy Investment Fund that Governor Rendell signed into law in July. The CFA-approved projects, by county, are as follows: 

Allegheny County 

The City of Pittsburgh will receive a $47,000 grant towards a $94,000 project to install solar hot water heaters at five firehouses, allowing the city to reduce its natural gas consumption. City employees also will be trained on installation and the technology involved so they can help residents and businesses undertake similar projects. 

Carbon County 

Conshohocken-based PA Solar Park LLC will receive a $5.5 million grant for a 10-megawatt solar photovoltaic power plant in Nesquehoning Borough, part of a $78 million PA Solar Park that is being developed on 134 acres in Carbon County by Green Energy Capital Partners. PA Solar Park will be the second-largest solar photovoltaic energy facility in the United States and will include a visitor’s center that will double as a regional renewable energy training center. The facility will generate enough electricity to power about 1,450 homes. 

Montgomery County 

Merck & Co. will receive a $1 million grant toward an $11.3 million, 1.6-megawatt solar photovoltaic system that will generate about 22 percent of the electricity for its Upper Gwynedd Township facility. 

Solar Roofing Systems Inc., or SRS Energy, was approved for a $430,000 grant for the acquisition of $7.3 million in equipment to manufacture solar roofing tile at a manufacturing facility in Lansdale.      

Philadelphia 

Brown’s Super Store Inc. received a $1 million grant for a $5.1 million project to install a 695-kilowatt rooftop solar voltaic system on its ShopRite Supermarket in Cheltenham, which will greatly reduce electricity costs and help to preserve 283 jobs. 

Schuylkill County 

Orwigsburg-based Meck Energy Partners LLC will receive a $1.6 million loan for a $5.4 million solar photovoltaic system on the roof of the H.H. Fessler Knitting Co. Inc’s Deer Lake facility in west Brunswick Township. The 881-kilowatt system will significantly reduce the company’s energy use from conventional sources. 

Westmoreland County 

Economic Growth Connection of Westmoreland will receive a $6.5 million loan on behalf of Solar Power Industries Inc., which manufactures a number of products used in the industry. SPI is making a $40 million purchase of solar photovoltaic manufacturing equipment to build a 100-megawatt photovoltaic module manufacturing facility in an area that Sony will be vacating in Mount Pleasant Township. SPI anticipates creating 375 new jobs and retaining 120 over the next three years. 

York County 

Leg Up Farm Inc. will receive a $4,500 grant towards a solar hot water system in its East Manchester Township developmental and therapeutic center for children with special needs. 

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The Rendell administration is committed to creating a first-rate public education system, protecting our most vulnerable citizens and continuing economic investment to support our communities and businesses. To find out more about Governor Rendell’s initiatives and to sign up for his newsletter, visit www.governor.state.pa.us

Michael Smith (GOV) 717-783-1116; Steve Weitzman (DCED) 717-783-1132

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