Pennsylvania awards another $5.7 million for solar PV projects, with 3.6MW installed capacity

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In the latest round of investments in the solar PV sector in the Keystone state, Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Financing Authority has granted another $5.7 million to nine projects at various schools and businesses across seven counties. The funding will add 3.6MW of PV to the state’s growing solar and renewable portfolio.

Gov. Ed Rendell (pictured) said the latest projects will account for a total investment of $19.3 million, more than tripling the amount of the state’s grants.   

“Pennsylvania is on track to become one of the top five states in the nation for solar energy by the end of the year because of good projects like these,” he said. “When I took office, there was less than one megawatt of solar energy installed statewide. Now, thanks to our aggressive efforts to invest in and expand this industry, we now have more than 11MW operating, with another 80MW in the works.”

The Commonwealth Financing Authority, which approved the projects, administers Pennsylvania’s economic stimulus programs, including portions of the $650 million Alternative Energy Investment Fund that the governor signed into law in 2008.

The latest projects to receive solar energy program grants are as follows:

  • W.J. Beitler Co. will receive a $347,200 grant to install a 217.14KW rooftop PV system at the company’s facility in Pittsburgh. The installation will generate 235,597KWhr of electricity per year and save $30,000 in energy costs annually. Total project cost is $1.06 million.
  • The Plumbers Local Union No. 27 will have two solar grants at its disposal, one for $25,300 to purchase and install a 25.3KW rooftop PV system and $5,000 for a rooftop solar thermal system on their training facility in North Fayette Township. Both systems will help the union cut its energy use and serve as training modules for apprentices on how to install such systems. Total project cost for the PV system is $138,263, while the solar thermal cost is approximately $22,100.
  • The recipient of the largest single grant, SEC Bellefonte SD Solar One, will dole out its $1.8 million solar energy program monies to help install a rooftop PV system on Bellefonte High School. The 1.011MW system (the largest installation among the latest awardees) will produce about 1.2 million KWhr of solar electricity annually, which will provide more than 40% of the school’s electricity demand and cut its utility costs by $153,000 each year. Total project cost is $5.9 million.
  • Elizabethtown Solar Electric Partners will invest its $1 million grant to install an 800.1KW ground-mounted PV system on the Masonic Village campus located in West Donegal Township. The array will be located on a vacant, 15-acre plot on the Masonic Village retirement community campus. Once operational, the system will produce approximately 960,000KWhr of electricity per year, saving it $120,000 in energy costs per year. Total project cost is $4.5 million.
  • East Lycoming School District will get a $1 million grant to install a 600KW ground-mounted PV system for their Hughesville Campus in Wolf Township. The system will produce 709,000KWhr annually, generating approximately 35% of the electricity used by the building on the campus and saving the district more than $88,000 each year. Total project cost is $3.4 million.
  • GlaxoSmithKline will receive a $500,000 grant to purchase and install a 406.56KW rooftop PV system on the company’s new data center in Upper Providence Township. The system will offset annual electricity consumption by approximately 517,120KWhr, saving GSK more than $64,000 annually. Total project cost is $1.9 million.
  • Positive Energy Pennsylvania 3 will deploy its $966,000 grant to install a 599.94KW ground-mounted PV system for the Nazareth Intermediate School in Upper Nazareth Township. The fixed, ground-mounted system will generate 743,200KWhr per year and save the school nearly $93,000 each year. Total project cost is $2.4 million.
  • Himalayan Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy of the USA will receive a $55,874 solar grant to install a solar thermal system at its headquarters in Dyberry Township. The total project cost is nearly $112,000.

In February, the state awarded >$5 million in grants to 13 projects totaling more than 4.25MW, while a similar round of grants in December 2009 invested >$10 million in 13 projects with an installed capacity of more than 9.1MW.

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