PHILADELPHIA SOLAR ENERGY PROJECTS RECEIVE $3.7 MILLION IN PA GRANT FUNDING

In Council News, Darrell L. Clarke, News by PHL Council

Philadelphia, March 21, 2018 – The Philadelphia Energy Authority (PEA), an agency authorized by City Council to promote sustainability and energy cost savings initiatives, on Wednesday thanked Pennsylvania’s Solar Energy Program (SEP) for awarding $30 million in grant funding to solar energy projects across the Commonwealth.

The SEP, which is administered by the Commonwealth Financing Authority to promote solar energy and economic development in Pennsylvania, has awarded $3.7 million in grants to 11 projects based in Philadelphia, including the SoNo redevelopment project in Northern Liberties, which will house tenants including the City of Philadelphia Archives, Yards Brewery, and Target. The grant funding will ensure that more than half of the energy used at SoNo will come from clean, solar energy.

“These projects approved represent our forward-thinking approach to powering our state, and will provide numerous benefits to the businesses, schools, and community centers receiving the funding – while also benefiting our environment and promoting renewable energy in Pennsylvania,” Governor Tom Wolf said.

“These grants come at a time of massive solar growth in Pennsylvania, with Philadelphia leading the charge,” PEA Executive Director Emily Schapira said. “The Pennsylvania Solar Energy Program’s infusion of capital into Philadelphia’s solar market will result in continued local job creation, lower utility costs, and real emissions reductions.”

As part of its work to build a robust clean energy economy in Philadelphia, the PEA played a technical assistance role to grant recipient Alliance HSP, which will receive $458,304 to support a 740 kW rooftop solar array on SoNo, a newly redeveloped mixed-use building at 5th and Spring Garden streets where the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Records and Administration, which oversees the City Archives, will relocate. It is one of the first solar projects in Pennsylvania to be owned by a developer and applied to a multi-tenant building. As part of the SEP grant, Alliance HSP will publicly bid the project.

“The SoNo solar project in Northern Liberties represents significant progress toward Philadelphia’s climate and energy goals and stands out as a model for other multi-tenant commercial properties,” PEA Executive Director Schapira added. “The public-private partnership and unique financing approach of this solar project overcame traditional barriers to urban commercial solar, paving the way for other commercial properties to use their abundant roof space for clean energy generation.”

“I am grateful to Governor Wolf’s administration for supporting the sustainability goals of the City of Philadelphia,” Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District) said. “Business leaders like Alliance HSP, with the support and encouragement of the PEA and City Council, will play an important role in Philadelphia’s transition to a clean energy future.”

The PEA supported the SoNo solar project as part of the Philadelphia Energy Campaign, a $1 billion initiative to advance clean energy and energy efficiency across four sectors: municipal buildings, K-12 schools, low- and moderate-income residences, and small businesses. The Philadelphia Energy Campaign is expected to create 10,000 jobs over 10 years and achieve energy reductions savings of over $200 million citywide.

The Alliance HSP grant application for SoNo also was supported by Solar States, an East Kensington-based solar company that partners with PEA on Solarize Philly, which promotes affordable solar energy conversion for Philadelphia homeowners and supports solar jobs training for low-income Philadelphia residents.

To date, 2,200 households have expressed interest in participating in Solarize Philly; 186 homeowners have signed contracts to install solar on their homes; 14 new jobs have been created, half filled by minorities or women; and nearly $3 million has been invested in new solar in our region. Consumers who participate in Solarize Philly save money and are offered consumer protections through pre-vetted installers, while also supporting solar and energy-efficiency training in the School District of Philadelphia and the PEA’s Solar for All platform for low- and moderate-income households.

Solar installations grew statewide by 40 percent and in Philadelphia by 46 percent in 2017. In 2017, the number of solar jobs in Pennsylvania increased by 26 percent.

For more information about the Philadelphia Energy Authority’s work to achieve City Council’s energy efficiency goals, see their website: http://www.philaenergy.org/

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Photo: Philadelphia Energy Authority

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