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.
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.
Roger Westman can easily tell when his solar panels are working. On a sunny day, his electric meter runs backward. But his rain garden? To see how it does the job, he braved a couple of downpours last fall.
“There’s good ol’ me, standing out there with an umbrella,” he said, laughing.
So, what was the verdict?
“It worked marvelously. It never overflowed, and in a half-hour to an hour it completely drained.”
Sustainable rain or shine, the house in Point Breeze that he shares with William Stevens is one of 23 stops on the Pittsburgh Solar Tour, which runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. today. Most are homes with solar water heaters or photovoltaic panels like the 6.9-kilowatt solar array on the roof of Mr. Westman and Mr. Stevens’ house. But the free tour organized by PennFuture will also include institutions that have gone solar, electric bicycles that tour-goers can try, and a tractor whose horsepower comes from the sun.
This should make us all proud. Pennsylvania was ranked 7th out of the 50 states for doing the most to reduce our dependence on oil. Because Pennsylvania funds public transit systems (like PART and SEPTA) and because of setting renewable fuel standards we earned high marks. California ranked number 1 while Alaska was number 50. Pennsylvania drivers spend 3.4% of their income on gas, which is the 8th lowest percentage in the country!
If you would like to read the report in its entirety you may click on this link: http://www.nrdc.org/energy/states/files/Fighting%20Oil%20Addiction_NRDC_Nov%202010.pdf
Pocono Raceway gets a big gold star for installing a 40,000 solar panel grid that will provide all the power for the racetrack and additional power for close 1,000 homes as well. The $15,000,000.00 project was unveiled today and officials are hoping that the final link can be completed by Sunday’s NASCAR race.
The solar grid will eliminate the race tracks $250,000.00 annual estimated electric bill! It is now the largest solar-powered sports facility in the world. Pocono Raceway will also benefit from selling the excess power they generate as well as eliminating more than 3,104 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.
And by the way, those solar panels were made right here in the USA!
Check out this informative article about alternative energy sources for your home.