We enjoyed a beautiful sunny day this week while visiting the Perdue headquarters in Salisbury, Maryland. The PV system we designed for this facility, combined with the one at Perdue’s Bridgeville site, results in one of the largest commercially-owned solar installations in the country, and we’re really proud of our involvement with this important project. The partnerships that were forged during the process have become invaluable to us and really serve as a benchmark for the future of these kinds of power installations.
During our visit, we walked around the property, admiring all the work we all put into the site. While watching solar panels “do their thing” isn’t action packed, this installation is pretty fascinating – there are more than 5,000 panels, stretching over an impressive 89,000 square feet – silently generating clean, renewable energy all day long.
Although solar panels do most of their work during the daytime, we wanted to capture the installation at sunset. The reflection of the sun setting off of a panel is something spectacular! Our photographer Matthew Borkoski thinks he got some great shots. We’ll share our favorites soon on our Facebook page.
Here’s the Governor’s pitch via his Op-Ed in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer:
Let sunshine into Pa. power goals
By Edward G. Rendell
The solar-energy industry is growing rapidly and creating thousands of jobs nationwide. But Pennsylvania is falling farther behind in the race for these green jobs. When it comes to producing clean electricity from the sun, other states are leaping ahead of the commonwealth.
Pennsylvania requires that only 0.5 percent of the electricity we use will come from the sun as of 2021. By comparison, New Jersey will require that 4 percent of its electricity come from solar generation by 2021, Delaware has set a target of 3.5 percent by 2025, and Maryland’s standard is 2 percent by 2022. Even Illinois, a ranking coal producer, has a goal of 1.5 percent by 2025.
What does that mean for the Keystone State? It means we are less likely to attract a major solar-related economic-development project – or to keep the more than 600 solar businesses we already have, which offer jobs in research, manufacturing, installation, and maintenance.
If we want to keep those businesses and the jobs they support, we must create a business environment that helps them expand and attracts companies that are looking to relocate.
That’s why we must increase solar energy’s share in the state’s alternative-energy portfolio standards. Passed by the legislature in 2004, the standards jump-started a green revolution that has made Pennsylvania one of the leading states in renewable-energy development. Twenty-five thousand Pennsylvanians are working in renewable-energy jobs, while the state’s consumers and businesses have invested at least $600 million in solar-energy projects.
After the General Assembly punted on House Bill 2405 back in late June , the administration of retiring Governor Ed Rendell (photo), led by his Secretary of Environmental Protection, John Hanger, a growing number of lawmakers, and the fledgling solar industry serving the Commonwealth, now are rallying behind solar legislation in the closing ‘legislative days’ of this year’s General Assembly. Governor Rendell today signaled he is willing to sign what had been the solar provisions of House Bill 2405 — or something close to them — before the General Assembly finishes its scheduled work for 2010, probably in mid-October.
So why now and not back in June? 1) the solar legislation is not part of a bill that would have affected the powerful coal industry and logically, should not draw the ire of any significant lobbying organization unless they’re out to kill any and all renewables; 2) Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, Ohio and New York will have more robust commitments to solar by this time next year and Pennsyvlania needs to act to keep up or jump back into the lead in the regioinal sweepstakes for sustainable solar jobs, economic development and private, clean energy investment capital.
Watch out for efforts to classify electricity from nuclear power plants as “renewable.” Nuclear advocates almost got away with it in Arizona back in February and briefly tried similarly in Pennsylvania by amending 2405.
One of many key players in support of solar is Rep. Eugene DePasquale (second photo), whose re-election campaign this fall is focused on boosting PA’s green economy.
Keep an eye on this blog for updates. We at Standard Solar welcome feedback and what you’re hearing about the bill’s progress, its opponents and supporters. Simply email Standard Solar’s policy chief at firstname.lastname@example.org .
P.S. We could sure use the Nittany Lions’ offensive line to help get us into the endzone. Anybody have an such contacts in Happy Valley? How about a Penn State professor who supports more solar energy in the Commonwealth?