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

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 http://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 http://www.depweb.state.pa.us or call 717-783-8411 717-783-8411.

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