Pennsylvania awards >$10M to dozen new solar projects; PV installations’ capacity to exceed 9.1MW

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In another example of American states taking the solar bull by the horns, Pennsylvania will invest more than $10 million in 12 new projects, following the Commonwealth Financing Authority’s approval. The awards are distributed mostly to planned photovoltaic installations, with a total capacity of >9.1MW.

The sole manufacturing site to benefit from the monies is Flabeg Solar U.S., which will receive a $505,000 solar energy program grant to purchase and install machinery and equipment for a second silvering line (for applying silver finish to parabolic solar mirrors) for its facility in Findlay Township. The project, which as a total cost of $9.3 million, will create 101 jobs over the next three years.

Several of the power system projects awarded funds by the state are of megawatt scale.

Knouse Foods Cooperative will receive a $3.5 million solar energy program grant to build a 3.155MW PV power plant field on an 18-acre site in Dickinson Township, which includes nine acres of brownfield land that was once used for fruit waste 25 years ago. The $19 million project will retain 22 full-time jobs and create three seasonal jobs.

Lower Paxton Township will get a $3 million grant towards a total project cost of $16 million to install a 3MW solar photovoltaic system at its landfill; the electricity generated will be help power the nearby Swatara Township Authority’s wastewater treatment facility. The total project cost is $16 million.

Romark Logistics will use its $2.1 million grant to help build a 2MW rooftop solar array at its 525,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution facility in Hazle Township. The total project cost is $9.5 million.

Other award-winning projects include a PV system on top of turnpike sound-barrier walls, rooftop installations on an elementary school and insurance company, and systems for local IBEW union locations that will double as training exercises for its members.

“From helping a school district become more energy efficient, to transforming a brownfield once used as a fruit waste site into a solar field, we’re helping to pave the way for a cleaner, greener economy in Pennsylvania,” Gov. Ed Rendell (pictured above) said in a statement. “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,” he noted.

Another recent news story that reflects the growing solar sector in the Keystone state was the announcement of Heliosphera’s plans to build a 160MW PV module factory in the Navy Yard complex in Philadelphia.

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