Climate watch: Centre County communities making strides with solar energy – Yahoo News Canada

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Sometimes people become discouraged at the slow pace of progress on climate action. But, in fact, our area communities and businesses are making great strides toward the adoption of solar energy and saving money at the same time. Your household can also explore the advantages of solar power.

Incentives for homeowners and nonprofits

The Centre County Solar and EV Charger Co-op is forming now. It is open to homeowners and small businesses. With a solar co-op, people band together to get more competitive pricing on solar panels. But they also have access to expert advice on how solar works, including a direct line to ask questions. The co-op is run by Solar United Neighbors. Registration closes July 26. Sign up to learn more. You are not committed to purchase. On May 18 SUN is offering a Centre County Solar Tour where people can see eight properties and what they’ve done with solar technology.

There is a 30-percent dollar-for-dollar federal income tax credit to homeowners for rooftop solar installation. And churches and other nonprofits can get 30-percent rebates for solar installation too. At least two local churches, University Mennonite and Fairbrook United Methodist, have put solar panels on their roofs and seen their energy bills plummet.

Power Purchase Agreement

Individuals can do a lot, but our government agencies can do even more. Eleven local organizations are pulling together to form a power purchase agreement to develop a 22-megawatt solar array in Walker Township.

By contracting with a developer for a fixed rate of electricity over 15 years, the PPA is expected to save at least $1.8 million for the participating organizations over that time span. And they estimate it will remove 16,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the Pennsylvania electric grid each year. The planning for this effort has taken four years, and it is expected to be fully approved by all members this spring.

The group includes State College Area School District, State College Water Authority, State College Borough, Ferguson, Patton, College and Harris townships, Centre County Government, College Township Water Authority, Centre Hall-Potter Sewer Authority, and the Centre Region Council of Governments.

Black Moshannon Project

Another exciting development is a proposed 239-megawatt utility-grade solar energy project in the Black Moshannon area — off Coaldale Road in Rush Township. It would be built on 1,500 acres of mine-scarred land. Fittingly, this would put land that once produced energy back into service again. Project developers hope that work can begin in early 2025.

Solar at the Recycling Center

The Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority has announced plans to put solar panels on the roofs of its buildings at the Authority’s transfer station near the Nittany Mall. CCRRA expects to save more than $2 million in electricity bills over the life of the array.

Already using solar

The University Area Joint Authority, which provides wastewater treatment to the Centre Region, has a 2.6-megawatt solar array at its facility on the boundary of Benner and College townships. This provides most of the power used to operate the treatment plant.

Of course, Penn State has made significant commitments to solar energy. The university has a 2-megawatt solar array near Mount Nittany Medical Center. But its big one is the 70-megawatt array in Franklin County that is expected to provide about 25% of the university’s electricity through 2045

As the Beatles told us so long ago, “Here comes the sun. And I say, ‘It’s all right.’”

Richard W. Jones is a volunteer with the State College chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby. Reach CCL at [email protected] .

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