Thursday, August 11, 2011

Harmony Beverage goes solar

Harmony Beverage in Blakeslee on Route 940 is a great place to pick up cases of adult beverages and the freshest fresh-roasted peanuts. And now it's all powered by the sun!

Sun Keeps Beer Cold - WNEP

From the linked article:

"Harmony Beverage's electric bill averaged anywhere from, in the softer months, from $1,200 per month, to say July and August when we use a lot of power, air conditioning, refrigeration, up to around $2,400 per month. That electric bill is gone. We have no more electric bill," said John McElroy of Harmony Beverage.

On an acre and a half behind harmony beverage, there are more than 360 solar panels, producing on average 450 kilowatt hours of power per day, even on cloudy days.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Bad news for the future of clean energy in Pennsylvania under Tom Corbett

Among the cuts and changes: "Forbidding executive agencies to enter into contracts for green power in the next fiscal year. At the dawn of 2011, Pennsylvania was buying 50 percent of its energy from renewable sources, making our state a national leader in the development of the clean energy economy. This abrupt change sends a powerful signal to renewable energy companies that Pennsylvania’s leadership is not interested in renewable energy."

Read all about this disturbing change of direction here:

Penn Future - Press Releases - Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future: Working to Protect Pennsylvania's Environment and Economy

Monday, July 18, 2011

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Local electrical union goes green - Citizens Voice

This is old news, but I just noticed one aspect of this install yesterday.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (I.B.E.W.) building off the Sans Souci Parkway in Hanover Township has been sporting a "beach umbrella"-style pole-mounted solar array for some time now. Casual observers might not realize that this array actually tracks the sun for maximum efficiency.

Being a good driver, I rarely take my eyes off the road in front of me, except to check my mirrors, my blind spots, and for traffic approaching from the sides. So it wasn't until yesterday that, thanks to an observant passenger in my car, I found out that the I.B.E.W. building itself is covered with solar panels. According to this article, this was part of the plan all along. I don't know if those panels have recently been added, or have been on the roof since the pole-mounted array went up. In either case, they're a great thing to see!

Local electrical union goes green - News - Citizens Voice

15-acre solar farm opens at Allentown's Air Products -

There hasn't been much news on the solar front in Northeastern Pennsylvania lately. But here's something from just south of here, in Lehigh Valley. Maybe Air Products will follow suit with its Hanover Township facility?

15-acre solar farm opens at Allentown's Air Products -

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pennsylvania: Sixth largest Photovoltaic state

Pennsylvania comes in sixth in this ranking of installed solar photovoltaic capacity, ahead of sunny states like New Mexico, Florida, and Texas. Surprisingly, New Jersey has three times Pennsylvania's installed PV capacity!

The Top 10 Solar States of 2010: Did Yours Make the List?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Fight for solar power heats up | The Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, Scranton PA

An article on the current crisis facing the solar industry in Pennsylvania, and the uphill battle to make things right. The Corbett administration, which is very eager to embrace "alternative energy" from natural gas extraction, comes across as very reluctant to do anything to promote the expansion of solar.

Fight for solar power heats up The Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, Scranton PA

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Solar power at Pocono Raceway

Pocono Raceway as seen on Google Earth. The 25-acre solar farm is at the top left..
This is the weekend of the Pocono 500, or as it's officially known this year, the "5-Hour Energy 500," and many NASCAR fans are catching their first glimpse of the massive 3 megawatt 25-acre solar farm installed at Pocono Raceway last August.

From the official Pocono Raceway Solar Project page:

In August of 2010 the 3MW Pocono Solar Project came online after just 3 months of construction. Consisting of nearly 40,000 American made photovoltaic modules covering 25 acres, the Project will produce more than 72 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy over the next 20 years. The environmental attributes associated with the system will offset more than 3,100 Metric Tons of carbon dioxide annually, Carbon Dioxide emissions from 106,529 propane BBQ grills and it will generate enough power to provide the electricity needs for close to 1,000 homes beyond the power needs of the Raceway.

According to the article that appeared on last year, this is the largest solar-powered sports facility in the world, more than twice as large as the runner-up, a 1.2 megawatt stadium in Taiwan.

NASCAR.COM - Pocono prepares to reap benefits of its solar farm - Jul 30, 2010

The solar farm is just a part of Pocono Raceway's "Go Green" program - albeit a massively impressive part!

Go Green Solar Project - Pocono Raceway

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Solar installations at Ikea

Northeastern Pennsylvania doesn't have any Ikea stores yet, but this is good news from any retailer. I have long hoped that Walmart, Lowes, or Home Depot would lead the way in retail solar installation, since they have enormous amounts of rooftop square footage and could synergistically sell solar panels to homeowners. But if Ikea is going to take the initiative, I'll be happy to keep my eye open for their installations the next time I'm near one of their stores!

Ikea A Rooftop Solar Juggernaut

Friday, May 27, 2011

Representative Chris Ross discusses the future of solar energy in Pennsylvania

Also, some backround information on Solar Renewable Energy Credits.

See here for more from Chris Ross on this topic.

Penn Future -Solar Jobs Bill will create employment,protect Pennsylvania’s businesses, and clean up our environment

A press release from Penn Future regarding HB 1580, the Solar Jobs Bill.

Penn Future: Solar Jobs Bill will create employment,protect Pennsylvania’s businesses, and clean up our environment

Scranton Times-Tribune: Don't let sun set on Pa. jobs

An opinion piece that appeared in the Scranton Times-Tribune this week regarding the collapse of Pennsylvania's SREC (Solar Renewable Energy Credit) market, and what state legislators could do to remedy the situation.

Don't let sun set on Pa. jobs - Opinion - The Times-Tribune

Calfinder: Last Call for Pennsylvania Solar Rebates

Is time running out for Pennsylvania homeowners to get solar rebates?

Calfinder: Last Call for Pennsylvania Solar Rebates

East Lycoming School District solar project

The East Lycoming School District threw the switch yesterday on a 600 kW ground-based solar array located near the Hughesville High School.

Solar project kicks off at high school - Williamsport Sun-Gazette

Mike Kroboth, president of PPL Renewable Energy, said 2,550 solar panels will produce 700,000 kilowatt-hours of green energy each year. The amount of energy could power 60 homes. The project will reduce the district's annual greenhouse gases by 1.1 million pounds of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to planting 100 acres of pine forest or removing 95 cars from the road.
East Lycoming Goes Green - Solar Power

The East Lycoming School District solar project was also featured on a segment of WNEP's The Power to Save.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Is there an oversupply of solar power in Pennsylvania?

While solar power development in Pennsylvania is still in a relatively nascent stage, the all-important solar renewable energy credit (SREC) market has become glutted, resulting in a crash in the prices offered for SRECs. Is there a legislative solution to this problem? Or is the Pennsylvania government too committed to natural gas extraction to care about renewable energy?

Pennsylvania's solar-energy industry suffering from success -

Monday, May 23, 2011

Spring Solar Training Conference - Philadelphia, June 9-11

This news from the Penn State Center for Sustainability:

Northern Mid-Atlantic Solar Center partner ONTILITY will host the Spring Solar Training Conference at the Philadelphia Airport Marriott Hotel on June 9-11. The conference opens with two days of workshops led by leading solar industry manufacturers, followed by a full day of solar sales training provided by ONTILITY. For NABCEP Certified PV Installers, continuing education credit will be offered. On Thursday evening, participants are invited to tour the Clean Energy Campus at the Navy Yard. The tour will be followed by a reception hosted by Eaton Industries. Attendees of the SIPD 402 Solar Instructor Professional Development from June 6 through 10 will attend part of this conference on Friday, June 10.

More information:

In related news, the Northern Mid-Atlantic Solar Education and Resource Center has put out an application for participation in the Solar Instructor Training Network Summer 2011 Hands-on Workshop SIPD 402 - Advanced Solar PV Assembly and Commissioning, being held in Philadelphia June 6th through June 10th. See Northern Mid-Atlantic Solar Education & Resource Center for more details.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Federal Consumer Energy Incentives

Directly from the Department of Energy, information about consumer energy incentives.

Department of Energy - Tax Breaks

The bit about solar incentives:

Consumers who install solar energy systems (including solar water heating and solar electric systems), small wind systems, geothermal heat pumps, and residential fuel cell and microturbine systems can receive a 30% tax credit for systems placed in service before December 31, 2016; the previous tax credit cap no longer applies.

Solar Rebates and Incentives for Pennsylvania

Solar Rebates and Incentives for Pennsylvania

Excellent information on solar rebates and incentives in Pennsylvania. Also includes a list of useful links.

Friday, May 20, 2011

10 MW PA Solar Park to be built in Nesquehoning

This is news from last Summer, but I just found out about it a few weeks ago. Still, very exciting!

GreenEnergyFinder - NEW - 10 MW PA Solar Park

HARRISBURG, Aug. 7 – State Rep. Keith McCall, D-Carbon, was joined by officials from Kovatch Enterprises and Green Energy Capital Partners to announce that a site adjacent to the Green Acres Industrial Park in Nesquehoning will be home to a 10.6 megawatt ground-mounted solar-energy-generating plant – the largest solar plant in Pennsylvania and one of the largest in the nation.


SEEDS (Sustainable Energy Education & Development Support)

While this site is currently undergoing some renovations, their History page has information about the organization:

SEEDS is a community-based organization in Northeastern Pennsylvania committed to developing a local renewable energy infrastructure and promoting more sustainable living in our area. SEEDS was founded in 2008 by a group of passionate, engaged communities members and in 2009, registered as an official 501c3 non-profit.

Over the past two years, SEEDS has held 12 open forums on various topics ranging from geothermal heating to small-scale wind to solar thermal hot water systems. These events have been well attended, providing free information to over 800 residents of northeastern Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Renewable Energy Festival

The Pennsylvania Renewable Energy Festival

Sept. 16, 17, & 18 2011 at the Kempton Community Center, Kempton, PA
A three-day festival about renewable energy, natural building construction, sustainable agriculture, land-use planning, forestry and healthy living practices in general.

The PA Renewable Energy Festival: Festival Information

PA Sunshine Solar Program

PA Sunshine Solar Program

Excellent resource page from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

From their page:

What is the Pennsylvania Sunshine Program?

The Pennsylvania Sunshine Solar Program will provide $100 million in rebates to help fund solar electric (solar photovoltaic, or PV) and solar hot water (solar thermal) projects for homeowners and small businesses in Pennsylvania.

Funding will be deployed in the form of rebates for residential and small business projects. Rebates will be awarded on a first-come-first-served basis to approved applicants. Households may receive one solar photovoltaic (PV) rebate for up to 10 kilowatts(kW) of installed PV generating capacity plus one solar thermal rebate not to exceed $2,000. A small business may only submit one PV and one solar thermal application at a time and must complete the project and rebate process prior to submitting another application.

PA Solar

PA Solar

From their "About Us" page:

We are The Commission on Economic Opportunity

The Commission on Economic Opportunity (CEO) was established in 1965. CEO is a non-profit community based organization whose base of operations is located in Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, PA. We also operate the Pennsylvania Weatherization Providers Task Force, a statewide organization representing 42 Weatherization Service Providers. As part of the nationwide US Department of Energy Weatherization Assistance Program CEO applied for and was awarded a Partnership in the Million Solar Roofs Initiative. For us that wonderful program ended December 31, 2006, but because our Executive Director felt so strongly about the solar information services we provide and the potential impact we may have on our energy future, we have evolved into PA SOLAR.

Solar Energy News - Green Business Daily

Solar Energy News Green Business Daily

A resource for people looking for the latest solar energy news.

Solar Instructor Training Network

Solar Instructor Training Network

Launched in 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy established the Solar Instructor Training Network (SITN), composed of nine Regional Training Providers (RTPs) to help fulfill a critical need for high-quality, local, and accessible training in solar system design, installation, sales, and inspection through train-the-trainer programs. The nine RTPs are well-established solar training institutions that offer expert trainers and first-class training facilities across the U.S.

For the Northern Mid-Atlantic States, Pennsylvania State University is the RTP. By engaging a broad spectrum of stakeholders, the Pennsylvania State University's Northern Mid-Atlantic Solar Regional Training Center will support a comprehensive training infrastructure for sales, design, installation, commissioning, and service of both solar PV and solar heating and cooling technologies. Contact David Riley for more information.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Luzerne County Community College Certificate in Sustainable Energy Technology

For anyone interested in pursuing a career in Sustainable Energy, Luzerne County Community College in Nanticoke offers a two-semester Certificate in Sustainable Energy Technology.

From the course description:

The Sustainable Energy Program is designed to prepare individuals for entry level technician positions in various energy fields. This includes sectors such as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass energy. Clean coal and smart grid technology are also considered. Additionally, sustainability is addressed in the context of efficiency of energy use and carbon footprint.

2010/2011 Catalog - Certificate in Sustainable Energy Technology

Luzerne County Community College - About

Solar Power System Installation by Home Depot

The other major home improvement chain also provides solar services.

Solar Power System Installation - The Home Depot - Get Your Solar Power System Installed by the Experts

Lowe’s and Sungevity Announce Solar Partnership - Forbes

Coming to a home improvement store near you!

Lowe’s and Sungevity Announce Solar Partnership - Osha Gray Davidson - Edison 2.0 - Forbes

Solar in Northeastern Pennsylvania

Sun pillar at sunrise, Nanticoke

Alternative energy is the way of the future - and today!  Solar energy is at the forefront of alternative energy.  Many people are surprised to learn that Northeastern Pennsylvania provides an excellent climate for generating electricity from solar energy.  In fact, the degree of solar energy available is comparable in many ways to Germany, the nation that leads the world in conversion of solar energy to electricity.  (This should come as no surprise in either case: Both regions are covered in organic solar energy converters - trees - and have deposits of coal that represent solar energy stored in the past by vegetation.)

NEPA Solar, aka Solar in Northeastern Pennsylvania, will strive to be a central resource for individuals seeking information about solar energy, solar panel purchase and installation, and the economic benefits of solar energy.