CITY COUNCIL, PHILADELPHIA ENERGY AUTHORITY LAUNCH PROGRAM TO EXPAND RESIDENTIAL SOLAR ENERGY

In Blondell Reynolds Brown, Council News, Darrell L. Clarke, Derek Green, News by PHL Council

‘Solarize Philly’ to Increase Solar Roofs as Part of 10,000 Energy Jobs Campaign

           Philadelphia, April 27, 2017 – Philadelphia City Council and the Philadelphia Energy Authority (PEA) on Thursday announced the launch of Solarize Philly (#SolarizePHL), a new residential solar energy program. By expanding adoption of solar energy, Solarize Philly will jumpstart Philadelphia’s sustainable energy market, drive down individual costs, increase solar training programs and jobs, and reduce the City’s reliance on fossil fuels.

Solarize Philly will be administered by the PEA as part of the Philadelphia Energy Campaign, a $1 billion, 10-year investment in energy efficiency and clean energy to upgrade buildings, homes, and businesses across the city while creating 10,000 energy sector jobs. Solarize Philly will expand solar energy to 500 rooftops by the end of 2018, creating 75 jobs. Solar installer training programs will be offered in partnership with the School District of Philadelphia, creating a pipeline to connect graduates with careers in a growing solar market.

Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown (At-Large), Councilman Derek Green (At-Large), and the Philadelphia Energy Authority were joined by Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissioner David Sweet and representatives from the Philadelphia Office of Sustainability, PECO, clean energy organizations, and the solar industry for an announcement on the rooftop of Parkway Central Library.

“Residential solar is good for the environment and for air quality, creates lots of living-wage jobs, and will ensure that electricity remains affordable for our residents into the future,” Councilman Green said. “City Council has held hearings on increasing solar energy usage in schools, and we continue to support solar development in City government and citywide. I am pleased to support Solarize Philly and Philadelphia’s ongoing green energy development.”

“As the Chair of the Committee on the Environment, I have championed the development of solar energy in Philadelphia for many years,” Councilwoman Reynolds Brown said.

“Solarize Philly represents a big step forward in addressing climate change, advancing environmental justice and equity, and reducing Philadelphia’s carbon footprint.  In addition, this monumental partnership with the School District of Philadelphia is important to ensuring that our children have opportunities to expound on their educational experiences with relevant work experience.  It behooves us to do our very best to ‘get it right’ the first time around and to hand future generations a healthy and sustainable planet.”

“Philadelphia’s solar market is dramatically underdeveloped compared to other cities. This program will ensure that that changes,” said Emily Schapira, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Energy Authority. “With renewed engagement from the City’s Department of Licenses & Inspection, PECO, community organizations across the city, and the new Solarize Philly framework, solar development here is poised for growth. Solar is a huge job creator and Philly has a shortage of skilled solar installers. The Energy Authority will be working with the School District starting this summer to train Philadelphia students in solar careers.”

The first residential solar sign-up period will begin July 1, 2017, and run through the end of September 2017. Interested homeowners can have their homes assessed for solar potential and receive a solar project proposal, complete with financing and leasing options where desired. The more households sign up, the deeper the discount will be. Solarize Philly will lower costs to homeowners, all while supporting solar training and education and help for low- and moderate-income households to go solar as well.

“At PECO, we are at the forefront of advancing and supporting smart energy initiatives and this includes advancing solar energy in a fair and equitable way,” said Tony Gay, PECO Vice President of Governmental and External Affairs.  “Solar and renewable energy are an important part of our country’s energy future and we are proud to support this new initiative to help drive solar choices for our customers.”

Also on Thursday, the PEA announced it had issued a Request for Proposals to select vendors to participate in the first 18 months of Solarize Philly. In addition to promoting solar energy, the program will provide consumer protections through contract templates, financing partnerships, and strong vendor requirements; select high-quality products; work with the Office of Sustainability and L&I toward a quicker permitting process; and work with PECO to support interconnection procedures.

More information on Solarize Philly and a Request for Proposals for solar vendors are available at www.philaenergy.org and www.solarizephilly.org.

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Photos from the press conference:

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