Bioenergy, Hydropower, Solar

Energy Harvest Grants Fund Public Solar PV Systems

Pennsylvania Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty joined community leaders and alternative energy experts in dedicating new solar panels installed in the Media Borough public library and elementary school — a project funded in part by the Pennsylvania Energy Harvest Grant Program.

The state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) offers significant incentives to help finance renewable energy projects. Energy Harvest funds projects that build markets for advanced and renewable energy technologies that use biomass, wind, solar, small-scale hydroelectric, landfill methane, energy efficiency, coal-bed methane and waste coal. The program has awarded $15.9 million and leveraged another $43.7 million in private funds since its inception in May 2003. The new solar photovoltaic (PV) projects in Media were funded in part by a $94,245 Energy Harvest grant awarded in November 2004. With this latest grant, solar panels have been installed at the library and elementary school. They also will be installed at the community theater. The five new systems will produce about 33,250 kWh each year, or 33 MWh per year. The actual dollar savings is estimated to be at least $4,500 annually. There will be substantial environmental benefits, as well. These noxious air pollutants will be eliminated: 86,058 pounds of carbon dioxide; 120 pounds of nitrous oxide; and 476 pounds of sulfur oxide and mercury. This reduction in pollutants is the equivalent of planting ten acres of trees annually. The borough’s first Energy Harvest grant — $15,925 awarded in February 2004 — helped to fund a solar panel installation at the Veterans’ Museum in the renovated Media Armory Building. The panel generates nearly 5,000 kWh per year, resulting in a 20 percent savings in Media Borough’s electric bill for the Armory. The solar panel also helps to reduce 12,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, 17 pounds of nitrogen oxide and 68 pounds of sulfur dioxide each year. Media plans to continue development of a new electric grid based on distributed solar generation, and through these projects, demonstrate the viability of solar power in urban settings.