April 2008

Pennsylvania builds solar power facility

Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell said multi-million dollar renewable energy projects, like the solar electricity generation plant he helped break ground on, reinforce Pennsylvania’s leadership in one of the nation’s fastest growing industries and highlight potential for economic development.

“When this facility is up and running, likely by September or October of this year, it will be among the largest in the country, and certainly the largest east of Arizona,” said Governor Rendell during groundbreaking ceremonies for the Exelon-EPURON Solar Center.

The $20 million Exelon-EPURON Solar Center will feature 16,500 solar panels on a 16.5-acre tract of land adjacent to Waste Management’s GROWS Landfill.

Upon completion, the solar plant will produce approximately 3,700 megawatt hours of power annually, which is enough to meet the energy requirements of about 400 homes. At this output, emission levels of carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide will be reduced by the equivalent of planting 33 acres of trees every year or taking more than 440 cars off the road each year.

The facility is owned by EPURON LLC, a subsidiary of the world’s largest solar integration company, Conergy AG, which has its North American headquarters in Pennsylvania. Another Pennsylvania-based Conergy subsidiary, Conergy Systems USA, formerly SunTechnics, will build the solar center.

The Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act requires that 18 percent of all energy generated in the state come from alternative and renewable sources by 2021, including 0.5 percent from solar. Approximately 850 megawatts of additional solar capacity are expected to be installed in the state by 2021.

Exelon Generation Company LLC made a financial commitment to the project through a 20-year power purchase agreement for the energy produced, recognizing the environmental importance of solar energy, according to Kenneth Cornew, president of Exelon Power Team.

Governor Rendell called on the state Senate to pass separate pieces of legislation approved by the House of Representatives. House Bill 1202 was passed by the House in June and would replace nearly 1 billion gallons of imported fuels with homegrown alternatives. Earlier this month, the House passed Special Session House Bill 1 calling for $850 million in new state investments to grow advanced energy sectors by $3.5 billion, create 13,000 jobs, and provide incentives for consumers to use energy more efficiently.