Wolf Administration Celebrates Groundbreaking of New Solar Array in Bedford

Bedford, PA – Today, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Dennis Davin and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Executive Deputy Secretary Ramez Ziadeh joined local leaders to break ground on a new solar array in Bedford, Bedford County.

“The Wolf Administration is committed to cultivating a robust and diverse energy portfolio that takes full advantage of renewable technologies like solar,” Secretary Davin said. “This project makes sense not just from an environmental perspective, but from an economic perspective as well. It’s great news for the Bedford area.”

The 1,838 kW solar photovoltaic system will be located by the Bedford County Jail and Courthouse. It will produce more than 2.1 million kWh of electricity every year. In addition to creating a cleaner and more environmentally-friendly energy solution for the county, it will also create significant cost savings for taxpayers, saving around $5.5 million over 30 years.

“Pennsylvanians are increasingly interested in the benefits of getting electricity from solar energy at home, at work, at school, and throughout the community,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “While multi-purposing land around the correctional facility, creating jobs, and lowering electricity costs, the Bedford County solar array will remove over 1,600 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the air, helping to address the challenges of climate change. The project perfectly exemplifies how the diverse benefits of solar energy can improve quality of life for our communities.”

The project was supported by a $900,698 grant through DCED’s Solar Energy Program through the Commonwealth Financing Authority. The Solar Energy Program provides financial assistance to promote the use of solar energy across Pennsylvania. In fiscal year 2017-2018, more than $30 million was approved for various energy generation and distribution projects in the commonwealth.

“The Bedford County solar project is a great example of coordination and collaboration working – one of the county’s overarching goals,” said Commissioner Josh Lang, chairman of the Bedford County commissioners. “This project is another successful implementation of forward-thinking innovative technology that will benefit taxpayers for years to come. I thank everyone who helped to make this project a reality.”

The Solar Energy Program is just one part of the Wolf Administration’s commitment to promoting solar energy across Pennsylvania. Last month, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) unveiled the “Pennsylvania’s Solar Future” plan to increase solar development. The plan identifies 15 cost-effective strategies that can be implemented to supply 10 percent of the state’s electricity by 2030.

The plan also notes that increasing solar development in Pennsylvania could create approximately 60,000 to 100,000 jobs in rural, urban, and suburban areas, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions from electricity by 9 percent. Electricity generation creates about 33 percent of greenhouse gases in Pennsylvania.

In 2017, Governor Wolf also signed legislation to enhance the solar market in Pennsylvania, and revised the Solar Energy Program to provide grant funding rather than just loan funding.

For more information about DCED, visit the DCED website, and be sure to stay up-to-date with all of our agency news on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Michael Gerber, DCED, 717.783.1132
Deb Klenotic, DEP, 717.783.9954

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