Governor Rendell Says PA's Solar Capacity Doubles Under Sunshine Solar Rebate Program

Mon Nov 2, 2009 11:00am EST

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

Governor Rendell Says PA's Solar Capacity Doubles Under Sunshine Solar Rebate

Program Helps Add 5 MW of Capacity, Meets First Goal

HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Edward G. Rendell
said today that the new PA Sunshine Solar Program is performing better than
expected and has helped to double the state's solar generating capacity in
less than 6 months.

According to the Department of Environmental Protection, the program has
reached its first incentive milestone for small business rebates -- the
deployment of 5 megawatts of solar power, or enough to supply electricity to
about 575 average homes in the state. 

The Governor said achieving the goal is good news for those small businesses
interested in lowering their electricity costs through clean, renewable
energy, and also for Pennsylvania's environment and economy.

"When we enacted the PA Sunshine program, we said it was going to help reduce
electricity bills for consumers, make solar energy more affordable, create
economic opportunities, and help produce more renewable energy that will help
improve our environment," said Governor Rendell. "Reaching this milestone, not
to mention the overwhelming response we've had to the program, is proof that
it's performing as intended.

"PA Sunshine is putting people to work across the state doing everything from
manufacturing solar technologies to installing and maintaining them, while
helping people and businesses become less dependent on the electrical grid and
other fossil fuels, which saves them money. And because of the program, we're
also emerging as a national leader in developing and deploying solar
technology. With the projects this program is making possible and others in
the works, it is likely that we will be among the top five states for total
solar capacity within the next year," he added.

Since the program opened on May 18, the commonwealth has committed $12.5
million in 625 projects by residential and small business consumers. The
projects represent at least $50 million in private investment, according to

More than 300 installers have been certified to install solar systems under
the program and DEP continues to receive and accept applications.

The solar electricity capacity created by the small business program, 5
megawatts, is enough to offset 5,580 tons of carbon dioxide, 16,000 pounds of
nitrogen oxide, and 77,500 pounds of sulfur oxide.

A running tally of completed projects is kept on the rebate program's Web site
so perspective applicants and solar developers are able to track the program's

"Among the small business community in particular, we are seeing a very high
response rate to the program, so much so that in less than six months, we've
more than doubled the solar capacity in Pennsylvania," said DEP Secretary John
Hanger. "As the market continues to develop, the intense competition among
solar installers and greater efficiencies on the part of manufacturers will
help bring down prices for solar. As such, the need for the incentive will
continue to decline." 

The $100 million PA Sunshine Solar program reimburses homeowners and small
business owners up to 35 percent of the purchase and installation costs of
solar energy technology. In combination with federal tax credits, consumers
could reduce system costs by 45 percent. It is part of the $650 million
Alternative Energy Investment Fund Governor Rendell signed into law in July

Under the original guidelines of the program, reaching the 5 megawatt
threshold means the incentive rates for small business solar projects will be
reduced.  Originally, the program offered $2.25 per watt for 3-10 kilowatt
(kW) projects, $2 per watt for 10-100 kW projects, and $1.75 per watt for
100-200 kW projects.  

As of Saturday, Oct. 31, all small business incentive rates were reduced by 50
cents across the board. Homeowner incentive rates will remain at the original
level of $2.25 per watt.

For more information, call the Office of Energy and Technology Deployment at
717-783-8411 or visit, keyword: Pa Sunshine.

Media contact:  John Repetz, DEP; 717-787-1323, or Michael Smith; 717-783-1116

SOURCE  Pennsylvania Office of the Governor

John Repetz, DEP, +1-717-787-1323, or Michael Smith, +1-717-783-1116, both of
the Pennsylvania Office of the Governor
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