HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced that the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority awarded $1.7 million in COVID-19 Restart Grants to 11 energy efficiency, solar energy, high-performance building, and electric vehicle charging projects halted by the pandemic.
“We’re pleased to help this outstanding set of clean energy and energy efficiency projects get going again,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “In addition to supporting current and new jobs to assist in Pennsylvania’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ll help improve air quality in their communities by lowering greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce energy waste and demand on the grid.”
Five businesses, two municipalities, two school districts, and two nonprofit organizations received grants for a variety of building and transportation projects that had broken ground or were in advanced planning stages before being disrupted by the pandemic.
Grants may support re-hiring workers or hiring additional workers to complete the project quickly, making immediate equipment payments to restart the supply chain, and, most importantly, restarting a project that otherwise likely would not have been completed due to the disruption caused by the pandemic.
The funded projects are located in urban and rural areas in eight counties, and seven are in or will serve Environmental Justice communities. The projects include innovative high-performance buildings, the first solar array to be owned by the City of Erie, energy efficiency lighting installations at businesses, and municipal electric vehicle chargers. Several projects incorporate student and public education on clean energy.
“The variety of these funded projects demonstrates the exciting potential of clean energy here and now, and reflects the growing interest that municipalities, businesses, and organizations around the state have in the benefits of clean energy,” said Secretary McDonnell.
• City of Pittsburgh: $189,403 for installation of 30 Level 2 chargers at the Second Avenue Parking Lot to power the city’s growing electric vehicle fleet, which currently numbers 26 vehicles. This project is a critical element of the city’s planned fleet conversion, servicing existing electric vehicles and future ones, as 44 other vehicles come up for replacement.
• Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens: $235,000 to continue its Alternative and Net-Positive Energy Project. A 27.7 kW rooftop solar array will be added to the greenhouse to round out the conservatory-wide 234.81 kW solar array. Solar-powered energy-efficiency climate controls will be installed in the public atrium of the Center for Sustainable Landscapes, one of the world’s greenest structures. Energy-efficient equipment will be installed in impactful and visible locations throughout public programming spaces.
Allegheny and Washington Counties
• Town Real Estate Enterprises, LLC: $59,054 to complete energy efficiency projects at two locations. High-efficiency lighting will be installed at the Omega Corporate Center, a 282,000 square foot office space in Robinson Township. Two outdated HVAC units will be replaced at Southpointe Plaza, a 57,454 square foot office space in Canonsburg. Combined, the two projects are expected to reduce electricity use nearly 400,000 kWh annually and reduce carbon dioxide emissions over 400 tons per year.
• Palmerton Area School District: $250,000 for energy-efficient windows and doors at Palmerton Area High School. The project aims to lower the school’s energy use more than 6 percent, or an estimated 541 MMBtu, annually, for a savings of more than $94,000 over 20 years. In addition to the dollars saved by district taxpayers, this energy conservation will achieve a 32 ton reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.
• Phoenix Contact Development and Manufacturing, Inc.: $250,000 to install a 961 kW solar array on the roof of the company’s logistics center in Middletown. The array will provide about 40 percent of the electricity at the site and complement the company’s STEM, internship, and apprentice programs to educate youth, prospective engineers, and technicians about clean renewable energy technology and its benefits.
• City of Erie: $24,375 to install a 50-panel solar array for the Erie Central Fire Station, a 24-hour, 365-days a year emergency operations facility. The array will supply 22,130 kWh of electricity annually, offsetting 27 percent of the station’s energy use and reducing operating costs for the municipality. This project will also be used as an educational asset to promote awareness and use of solar energy in Erie and northwestern Pennsylvania.
• Kreider Property Improvements: $60,800 for an 89.6 kW rooftop solar array on the company’s commercial property at 573 Willow Road in Lancaster, generating over 55,000 kWh of electricity per year. The company experienced a 95 percent shutdown of operations for nearly four months due to COVID-19, impacting the ability to complete this project. Completion of the project will reduce operating costs while avoiding over 75 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
• 63 Fraley Street, LLC: $225,000 to complete the Kane Passive House project, renovating a vacant three-story building in Kane Borough into an ultra-energy-efficient showcase. The house will approach net-zero energy status through Passive House practices and certified components, properly sized heating and cooling equipment, and a roof-mounted solar panel. The project will use local building materials and labor. In partnership with the borough, the project team will demonstrate Passive House construction in a rural community and educate the public on its economic and environmental benefits.
• Port Allegany School District: $204,763 to install over 6,400 LED lamps/fixtures and cooler/freezer controls. Before and after installation measurements will be taken to confirm the savings achieved from this energy efficiency project. The benefits of the project go beyond energy savings, providing a learning opportunity for students. Mentored by professionals in the clean energy industry, high school students will develop presentations on the project and its outcomes. The students will present to the school district directors, Seneca Highlands Intermediate Unit 9, and other groups.
• K.C. Mechanical Service, Inc.: $96,000 to install a 112 kW ground-mounted solar project next to the company headquarters in Mt. Bethel. The project will generate over 112,000 kWh of electricity per year, exceeding 100 percent of the company’s annual usage. The project will fulfil a long-term goal of the company to reduce its carbon footprint by avoiding over 100 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year.
• Highlights Foundation: $116,000 for the Boyds Mill Conference Center Net Positive Project in Honesdale. Net positive energy status will be accomplished through a combination of renewable energy production, energy conservation, and monitoring and control of a micro-grid, including deployment of 102 kw solar panels, mini-split heat pump units, and a cloud-based management system to control energy use dynamically. The project will educate other conference centers and over 1,000 people who visit Boyds Mill each year on the transition to sustainable energy and net positive energy status.
The Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority is an independent public financing authority established by the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority and Emergency Powers Act of 1982. It funds the development and deployment of innovative clean and efficient energy technologies; the generation of alternative energy or the production of alternative fuels; or the implementation of energy efficiency/demand-side projects.
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