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Pennsylvania awards >$5M to 13 solar power projects totaling 4.25MW

The state of Pennsylvania has announced new grants totaling more than $5 million in 13 solar energy projects, which will add more than 4.25MW of photovoltaics installations in 11 counties. The projects have a total value of more than $23 million and will include rooftop, parking structure, and ground-mount systems, ranging in size from 20KW to 1MW, to be deployed at schools, condos, businesses, and other commercial and industrial sites.

The state says the new projects will generate enough electricity to power approximately 500 homes and benefit from the $650 million Alternative Energy Investment Fund that Gov. Ed Rendell (pictured) signed in 2008. They were approved for funding by the Commonwealth Financing Authority.

The latest awards come on the heels of more than $10 million in similar grants that the state announced in December, for 13 PV system installations totaling over 9.1MW in installed capacity as well as a single grant for a solar manufacturer.

Two of the projects will receive grants of $1 million each.

In Warrington Township, Bucks County, VS Solar use its solar energy program grant for the deployment of rooftop PV systems for the Valley Square Lifestyle Shopping Center. Nine of the 11 buildings at the center will be fitted with the systems, for a total of 800KW installed capacity. The grant will cover a portion of the total project cost of $4.1 million.

The other million-dollar grant will go toward the installation of the largest system in this round of investment, Sherman Masser’s 1MW PV array to be installed on six acres in Hubley Township, Schuylkill County. The electricity generated from the system, which has a total project cost of $5.4 million, will be used at the company’s nearby potato processing plant.

Not all the state monies will be going toward PV power system projects.

Axion Power Manufacturing’s $298,605 grant will help fund its solar power energy storage R&D work at its facility in Neshannock Township, Lawrence County. The company is developing a renewable energy storage system that will store excess electricity generated from two Envision Solar electric vehicle charging stations.

“We are making tremendous strides in bringing more solar capacity on line,” said Gov. Rendell. “By December 2010, Pennsylvania will rank in the top five states for solar in terms of megawatts operating. With the programs that we have in place today and the funds made available to us through the federal stimulus, this will bring our total solar capacity to nearly 60MW, or enough to power 7200 homes.