Solar Looks For A Sunny Outlook In Pennsylvania

SolarCity Corp., the nation’s largest rooftop photovoltaic developer, is hoping a new day is dawning for solar in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

The San Mateo, Calif., company announced Thursday a bundle of new financing options aimed at customers in the Peco Energy Co. service territory. SolarCity and its competitors typically install their systems on customers’ roofs for no money down.

The campaign is aimed at reversing the shrinkage in the Pennsylvania solar market, which went into hibernation after 2011, when federal and state incentives dwindled.

“We have a few hundred customers in Pennsylvania, but it’s been slow to develop over time,” said Leon Keshishian, SolarCity’s regional vice president.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20150313_Solar_looks_for_a_sunny_outlook_in_Pa_.html#lSQXTxsBwMKzL3DW.99

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MCCC Honored For ‘Environmental Impact’ In Pottstown

Wind Turbines: Four, 25-foot wind turbines in front of Montgomery County Community College’s Schuylkill Riverfront Academic & Heritage Center in Pottstown are part of a Guaranteed Energy Services Agreement. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Wind Turbines: Four, 25-foot wind turbines in front of Montgomery County Community College’s Schuylkill Riverfront Academic & Heritage Center in Pottstown are part of a Guaranteed Energy Services Agreement. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Pottstown, PA —Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) earned the 2014 Environmental Impact Award for its “green” approach to business during the Tri County Area Chamber of Commerce’s economic development luncheon last month.

According to the Chamber, the award is presented to businesses that are taking a “green” proactive approach for a more sustainable business environment. MCCC is the fourth environmental award recipient since 2009.

Guided by a Climate Commitment Action Plan and Advisory Council, MCCC is working toward the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050—a pledge made in 2007 as a charter signatory of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. Areas of focus include education, transportation, energy, facilities and overall best practices.

While many of MCCC’s sustainability initiatives are implemented across all locations, the College’s West Campus in Pottstown boasts several unique—and visible—green elements, namely wind turbines and a green roof.

In April, the College installed four 25-foot vertical axis wind turbines outside its Schuylkill Riverfront Academic and Heritage Center at 140 College Drive, adjacent to Riverfront Park and the Schuylkill River. Each turbine produces 1,000 watts of energy, for a combined 4,000 watts—enough energy to power the parking lot LED lighting. More importantly, the turbines are providing real world teaching and learning opportunities for students and faculty around alternative energy.

The wind turbines at West Campus, along with solar panels at the College’s Central Campus in Blue Bell, are part of a Guaranteed Energy Services Agreement with Siemens Industry Inc. Collectively, through a broad series of self-funded energy conservation projects, MCCC will see 19 percent energy savings—and more than $6 million in cost savings—over the next 15 years.

Green RoofThe West Campus’ Schuylkill Riverfront Academic and Heritage Center also features the College’s first and only green roof. Installed in 2011, the roof features 13 different varieties of plants that were selected specifically for their growth, strength, and absorptions properties.

The plants help to reduce the amount of rainwater that goes into the storm system, thus protecting the surrounding waterways from excessive runoff. When saturated the plants absorb CO2 and release oxygen, thus helping the College advance toward its goal of carbon neutrality.

In addition to the wind turbines and green roof, West Campus sustainability highlights include two 240-volt electric vehicle charging stations in partnership with ECOtality, a recognized leader in the research and development of advanced energy systems specializing in alternative fuel campuses; a Segway program for Public Safety officers; and an increased emphasis on bicycle accessibility

To learn more about the College’s Sustainability Initiative, visit http://www.mc3green.wordpress.com.

Large-Scale Batteries Are Integral In Shift To Renewable Energy

At Turkey Hill Dairy in Lancaster County, the secret ingredient in its ice cream is wind.

Along with conventionally derived power used to make its sweet treats, the dairy is the sole customer of a nearby wind farm, built in 2010, that provides 25 percent of its electricity.

“That’s honestly all we need,” said company spokeswoman Andrea Nikolaus.

Relying on wind for bigger operations, or to power the grid, is a different matter. As critics of renewable energy are quick to point out, the wind doesn’t always blow — or it does when customers don’t need it — and the sun doesn’t always shine on solar panels.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/6805730-74/battery-energy-power#ixzz3GhmVa9jx
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Solar Energy To Light Up Wilkes-Barre Township Shopping Center

English: Map of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania h...

English: Map of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania highlighting Wilkes-Barre Township (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

EDWARDSVILLE, PA — After successfully using solar energy at the Gateway Shopping Center, Joe Amato Properties is number crunching on the feasibility to install solar panels at the East End Centre, Wilkes-Barre Township.

Three years ago, the Gateway Shopping Center in Edwardsville made a groundbreaking move, becoming the first area shopping plaza to install solar panels to light all common areas such as parking lots, lights under canopies and an office space.

Liana Kissinger, property manager for Joe Amato Properties, and A.J. Bittner, president with Keystone Energy Solar Services, Wyoming, confirmed they are working together again with the East End Centre under consideration for a similar installation.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/business/50441894/Solar-energy-to-light-up-East-End-Centre

New Solar-Powered Car-Charging Stations Unveiled In Robinson

The Mall at Robinson

The Mall at Robinson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  When we were on assignment in Pittsburgh a few weeks ago, we stayed across the street from the Mall at Robinson and walked right by these very charging stations.  Should have taken a picture….drat!  Oh well, hindsight is 20/20 but if you read the whole article the Post Gazette took a nice picture for your viewing pleasure.

In the parking lot outside the food court at the Mall at Robinson, a silver Chevy Volt sat in a space painted with a green and white electric vehicle decal, waiting for a jolt. Inside, representatives from Eaton and Wesco gathered by a gray kiosk that monitors the amount of energy being generated by the new 8 kilowatt solar panels on top of the mall.

By 11 a.m. the panels had generated 4.11 kw of energy, enough to power 46 laptops. They also generated enough power to give an electric car a full charge in two hours. That’s a perk for hybrid drivers because the mall’s newest car charging stations are connected to the panels.

The charging stations were officially unveiled at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday, but they have been operational since June. Beth Edwards, the mall’s general manager, said she has been surprised by the response.

“I’ve seen several cars using it. We actually had a mall walker who went out and bought an electric car so they could charge it when they’re walking in the mall,” she said.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2014/07/25/Mall-at-Robinson-unveils-new-solar-powered-car-charging-stations/stories/201407250036#ixzz38VRlqzoC

Economic Development Coalition Begins Long Journey To Revive Greater Reading

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What should Berks County’s economy look like in 10 or 20 years?

That’s what eight economic-development and workforce groups explored when they collaborated on the Ride to Prosperity report three years ago. The group wanted to create a greater Reading where residents are more prosperous and happy to live here, where businesses are more innovative and there’s more opportunities.

To start the work, the group filled the report with specific action items that could be done in three to five years.

Three years later, the group has checked some big items off the weighty to-do list.  Berks Park 78 became shovel-ready and attracted three tenants.  A fast-track development program has moved several projects through an express-lane approval process.  Key players stress the importance of eight economic and municipal groups working together for a common goal: a stronger and prosperous economy.

Read more:  http://businessweekly.readingeagle.com/economic-development-coalition-begins-long-journey-to-revive-greater-reading/

South Side Site Becoming Pittsburgh’s Second Compressed Natural Gas Station

English: Symbol used for vehicles powered by c...

English: Symbol used for vehicles powered by compressed natural gas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A former Exxon station in Station Square is becoming the city’s second compressed natural gas station with the help of state funding announced this week.

The station, located near the T station at the edge of the Smithfield Street Bridge, is currently under construction.  It will be owned by Desdemona Holdings LP and operate under the American Natural Retail brand.

Desdemona Holdings received a $372,300 grant and $248,200 loan to help complete the project.  Desdemona is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cleopatra Resources LLC, a New York-based energy company with local offices near Homestead.

A timetable for completion was not given.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/south-side-site-becoming-citys-second-cng-station-687147/#ixzz2T04Iwgfq

Gas Prices’ Earliest-Ever Rise Above $3.50 A Bad Sign For Motorists

Pay-at-the-pump gasoline pump in Indiana, Unit...

Image via Wikipedia

American motorists have seen the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline rise above $3.50 a gallon on just three occasions, but it has never happened this early in the year. Analysts say it’s likely a sign that pain at the pump will rise to some of the highest levels ever seen later this year.

In 2008, average gasoline prices had hit inflation-adjusted records nationally by the summer, but they didn’t climb above $3.50 a gallon across the U.S. that year until April 21, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report. It happened again last year, but not until March 6.

But $3.50 a gallon gasoline is already here in 2012, weeks before refineries typically shut down for springtime maintenance, and weeks before the states switch from their less expensive winter blends of gasoline to more complicated and pricier summer blends.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/business/mc-gas-prices-20120214,0,2776477.story