Announces First Grants to Support Advanced Energy Projects; Signs Certification Letters to US Energy Department, PUC
BENSALEM – While visiting a Bucks County window manufacturing plant that expects to grow because of incentives in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Gov. Edward G. Rendell announced five projects that are putting the stimulus funds to work implementing advanced energy measures and creating green collar jobs.
The Governor said the projects are expected to create 155 jobs. The companies undertaking these projects are investing more than $19 million on top of the $3.7 million in stimulus grants.
“Here at Accu-Weld, we’re seeing firsthand the opportunities we have to spark an economic recovery in Pennsylvania by creating a green economy,” said Rendell. “In addition, I’m also announcing the first five energy projects that will take advantage of federal stimulus dollars to create good, green collar jobs for our workers. With new resources provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, as well as the steps we’ve taken at the state level in recent years, we have the chance to capitalize on these opportunities, help green companies grow, and put more people to work in the green economy.
“We started putting those funds to work. The Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority met and allocated $3.8 million to five companies that are investing another $19 million in energy conservation improvements at their plants. In the process of making those improvements, they will put 155 Pennsylvanians to work installing new energy efficient equipment and solar systems.”
Before making his remarks, Rendell toured Accu-Weld Replacement Window and Door Co. with company president John Haddon. The 28-year-old firm manufactures high-efficiency, vinyl replacement windows for the residential home market and has already experienced an increase in demand because of the federal stimulus package, because the company’s products meet energy efficiency standards contained in the legislation.
Under the federal stimulus, homeowners who make energy efficiency improvements to their homes — such as installing these windows and doors — within the next two years are eligible for a 30 percent tax credit capped at $1,500. Homeowners who purchase these products would also be eligible for a loan or rebate under Pennsylvania’s new Keystone HELP Residential Energy Efficiency Loan and Rebate Program.
The five projects that were approved this morning by PEDA include the following:
Bridge Business Center LP in Bucks County will receive $1 million to install an advanced energy system in a 50,000 square foot laboratory renovation that will enable them to recycle waste heat from their operations and meet all of their own energy needs. The company is investing $1.6 million on top of the state’s grant. In Cumberland County, roofing manufacturer Carlisle Syn Tech is investing $650,000 and using a grant of the same amount to install an advanced 200 kilowatt solar system on its roof. The company aims to develop an integrated solar roofing product that can be marketed to large commercial and industrial customers.
In Philadelphia, Sysco Food Services is constructing a 190,000 square foot expansion of its distribution center and warehouse there. With PEDA assistance, the expansion will be greener and more energy efficient facility by using energy conservation measures and tools that utilize the power of the sun. Sysco is matching the state investment of $840,000. The Williamsport Hospital and Medical Center in Lycoming County will use a $1 million state grant to help install a new 2 megawatt cogeneration system that will generate electricity and also capture and reuse waste heat to provide heat and hot water for the hospital. The hospital is matching the state investment with a $1.7 million investment. Campus Square Partners in Dauphin County is installing a 50.5 kilowatt solar photovoltaic system on its 70,000 square foot building to help reduce energy costs and help the building will qualify for silver LEED certification. The $13 million redevelopment is located at Third and Reilly streets. The $281,000 in PEDA grant funding will go towards the cost of the solar installation and equipment.
“We are still putting together our comprehensive energy plan for using stimulus funds, but we know that these projects are ready to go and are pleased to announce these first stimulus energy grants today,” said the Governor. “However, I am here today to do much more than announce these five grants. Today, I’m taking the first formal action required under the federal plan so Pennsylvania can access approximately $366 million in the stimulus funds to grow our green businesses and put more people to work.”
The Governor signed a certification letter to U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu stating that Pennsylvania will continue to seek specific improvements in state law that will decrease energy consumption, promote renewable energy generation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Governor also signed a letter to the chairman of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission asking for the PUC’s support and cooperation in making sure the state is doing everything possible to help families and businesses curb energy use, including working with the utilities to develop energy efficiency programs and incentives that promote conservation and doing so without increasing the costs consumers face with their monthly bills.
“Investing in energy conservation and weatherization is a ‘win-win-win’ for America,” said the Governor. “It’s three wins – a win for the homeowner whose heating bills go down, a win for the nation because it drives down our energy use and reliance on fossil fuels, and it’s a win for American companies like Accu-weld who are already seeing increased orders due to Pennsylvania’s help for homeowners and the new benefits in the stimulus package.”