With assistance from an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD), and the Solar America Cities Program, the City installed its first solar project, a 250 kW array at PWD’s Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant in spring 2011. Planning for a second large solar installation on City-owned land is already underway.
The City eased solar installation for business and home owners by restructuring the permitting fees, streamlining the permit process for smaller scale projects, and providing education about solar power. Since the beginning of 2009, over 1,325 kW of solar capacity has been installed throughout Philadelphia. To take a virtual solar tour of these installations, visit the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability website.
Increasingly Philadelphia institutions are integrating renewable sources into their energy portfolios. Local professional sports teams such as the Phillies and Eagles and educational institutions including the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University have instituted aggressive renewable energy certificate (REC) purchasing programs. A REC represents the environmental and social benefits of renewable electricity generation, and can be sold separately from renewably generated electricity. RECs allow organizations in Philadelphia to support clean energy production even when electricity from a renewable generation project cannot be distributed directly to their facilities.