PHILADELPHIA, PA — On the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the Philadelphia Energy Authority reopened Solarize Philly, a program to help all Philadelphians go solar. Interested homeowners and businesses can go to solarizephilly.org to sign up for a free solar assessment of their property.
“Now more than ever it’s clear that our health is impacted by our behavior and our environment,” Mayor Jim Kenney said. “Going solar is one way that you can take action to support the health of the Philadelphia community for the long run.”
“Job creation is going to be key to the recovery of our economy,” said Council President Darrell Clarke (5th District). “Of all energy projects, rooftop solar creates the most jobs per dollar invested, and the Philadelphia Energy Authority is training young Philadelphians to fill those positions. Solarize Philly participants are helping put people to work who need it the most.”
Solarize Philly is already the largest program of its kind in the nation, with 654 homeowners signing solar contracts since its launch in 2017. The Philadelphia Energy Authority (PEA) designed and administers the program so that participants benefit from group-buying discounts and consumer protections. Solarize Philly installers are prepared to kick off the phase by providing free remote solar assessments. On-site visits and installations for the program will resume in line with guidance from the Governor on construction.
“We decided to reopen Solarize Philly on Earth Day as planned, since solar provides savings, increases resilience, and drives economic development,” said PEA’s Executive Director Emily Schapira. “We think this work is more important than ever. Solarize Philly helps fund our Solar Savings Grant Program, which supports the City’s most vulnerable residents to reap the benefits and savings that solar can provide.”
PEA’s Solar Savings Grant Program, provides grants paired with financing to low- and moderate-income households to go solar at no upfront cost, and with utility bill savings from Year 1. Grants are available to cover up to half of the cost of solar for eligible households. Spots are limited, so households are encouraged to sign up now at solarizephilly.org to find out if they qualify. The Program is supported by program fees generated by Solarize Philly.
The City’s announcement about Solarize Philly builds on momentum from several measures adopted by City Council and signed by Mayor Kenney in 2019 that support solar adoption, including the new Philadelphia Solar Rebate. Property owners that install solar in Philadelphia are now eligible to apply for a one-time incentive payment from the City. The average rowhouse solar project will receive nearly $1000. The rebate provides 10 cents per watt to commercial projects and 20 cents per watt to residential projects. Any projects that received Permission to Operate after July 1, 2019 are eligible to apply. PEA administers the Rebate on behalf of the City’s Office of Sustainability.
“Solar is key to Philadelphia’s response to climate change. Solarize Philly and the Rebate mean that more Philadelphians can participate in the urgent transition to clean energy,” added Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson (At-Large), Chair of the Committee on the Environment.
Other solar policies enacted in 2019 included a reduction in solar permit fees, a measure to enable solar canopies by right, and Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE). Also in 2019, the Office of Sustainability and PEA partnered on a solar power purchase agreement with a third-party developer. The 80MW solar facility will be built in Adams County and power 22% of the electricity used by municipal buildings.
“Philadelphia is open for solar business. With Solarize Philly continuing into a new year, the new Solar Rebate, C-PACE, and lower permit fees, we expect solar development to get back on its growth trajectory after business operations can resume,” added Councilmember Derek Green (At-Large).
PEA also leads Bright Solar Futures, a partnership with the School District of Philadelphia to establish Pennsylvania’s first vocational solar program for high school students. The new Career and Technical Education (CTE) program will start at Frankford High School in Fall 2020. PEA offers a parallel training program for Opportunity Youth in partnership with PowerCorpsPHL.
About Philadelphia Energy Authority
The Philadelphia Energy Authority (PEA) is a municipal government entity supporting the City on energy affordability and sustainability. Created in 2010, PEA is focused on developing and facilitating long-term energy projects and policies, and supporting a robust clean energy economy in Philadelphia. For more information visit www.philaenergy.org.
About the Philadelphia Office of Sustainability
The Philadelphia Office of Sustainability (OOS) works with partners around the City to improve the quality of life in all Philadelphia neighborhoods, reduce the city’s carbon emissions, and prepare Philadelphia for a hotter, wetter future. OOS is responsible for implementing Greenworks Philadelphia, the city’s comprehensive sustainability plan. Learn more at www.phila.gov/green.
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