The Green Living Guy

Mayor Michael A. Nutter, local and federal officials celebrated the completion of a new solar PV installation, the first owned by the City of Philadelphia, at the Philadelphia Water Department’s (PWD) Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant. The PWD installed a 250kW solar photovoltaic system, which was completed as a result of Philadelphia’s partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Solar America Cities program. The solar array, which produces enough energy to power 28 homes each year, also contributes to a goal of the Greenworks Philadelphia sustainability plan, to purchase or generate 20 percent of electricity used in the city from alternative energy sources by 2015.

“Producing solar energy at this City-owned water treatment plant reduces our greenhouse gas emissions, creates new jobs, and lowers our electricity bill. This is a smart investment that will help the city reach the goals set in Greenworks Philadelphia,” said Mayor Nutter. “I would like to thank the U.S. Department of Energy for helping Philadelphia to invest in renewable energies and to build upon our momentum to become the greenest city in America.”

“Philadelphia’s leadership in deploying solar energy highlights the important role local communities can play in expanding the U.S. solar industry and bringing more renewable energy online,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “This new solar energy installation will serve as a model for how cities across the country can partner with the federal government and the private sector to develop new sources of clean energy.”

The system at the PWD’s Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant is ground mounted and covers more than an acre of previously unused land. The treatment plant will use all of the solar power generated on-site, and PWD owns the Solar Renewable Energy Credits. The project was made possible by $850,000 from the City’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant from the DOE and $850,000 from the PWD and technical assistance from DOE’s Solar America Cities program. The PWD, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities and the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability were instrumental in identifying the site and acquiring funding for the project.

“By installing one of the first large-scale solar projects in Philadelphia, the City is demonstrating that alternative generation is both feasible and beneficial,” said Deputy Mayor for Transportation and Utilities Rina Cutler.

Commissioner of the Philadelphia Water Department Howard Neukrug added, “Water treatment uses large amounts of electricity. PWD is proud to use clean, sustainable power generated on-site. Because this project was so successful, we’re planning to replicate it at other treatment plants.”

Source: City of Philidelphia Office of Sustainability

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