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Pennsylvania Company Goes Green with Solar

Wednesday, August 24th 2011 4:35 PM
By GetSolar Staff.
Pennsylvania Company Goes Green with Solar Despite the reputation of the East Coast, the region enjoys abundant sunshine for mcuh of the year, making states as far north as Pennsylvania a perfect place for solar panels. Although it is not as warm as California, families and businesses alike can benefit from hiring residential or commercial solar installers to construct photovoltaic (PV) panels on its roof.

Located in Southampton, Pennsylvania, NewAge Industries is dedicated to producing high quality plastic tubing, hoses, fittings and clamps with 98 percent of their orders being shipped out on the same day that they were requested, according to the company.

The employee share ownership plan (ESOP) company, which has been dedicated to satisfying the needs ot customers and employees, recently hired well-known commercial and residential solar installers, Borrego Solar, to come and construct a large solar system on the rooftop of the company's facility. On top of replacing old windows with new energy efficient styles, this was another way for the company to become more efficient with their utility bills and energy costs.

The solar system is composed of over 4,000 American-made SolarWorld PV panels that add up to more than 1 megawatt in capacity. The SolarWorld panels have a 25-year lifetime warrantee, while guaranteeing to produce electricity with a 90 percent efficiency rating after 10 years of service, as opposed to the industry standard 80 percent, according to SolarWorld.

The solar system is split into more than 300 racks, each consisting of 13 panels, which are spread across the rooftop and angled at either 5 or 10 degrees west of due south in order to optimize the amount of sunshine they receive, according to the installation company.

The company hoped that adding the solar panels would allow them to become greener and it certainly did. The solar setup allows the company to offset more than 1.5 million pounds of carbon dioxide per year, which, over the 30-year life-span of the system, is expected to reduce more than 44 million pounds of CO2. This is the equivalent of removing nearly 200 cars from the road or planting more than 400 acres of trees, according to the solar company.

The 1,100 kilowatt solar system is expected to produce nearly 99,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the Pennsylvania average retail price per kilowatt-hour was just more than 10.5 cents in February 2011. Even if the system were to produce electricity with only 80 percent efficiency the installation will still save the company more than $8,000 per month on their utility bills by not relying on local utility companies.

As a way to reduce the cost of the solar panels, NewAge Industries was awarded a solar energy grant from Pennsylvania's Department of Community and Economic Development. The 1603 Treasury Grant Program, a plan that awards companies for using renewable energies, awarded the company nearly $1.2 million which combined with the $1 million grant from the Department of Community and Economic Development paid for more than half of the project.

In addition, the company was also eligible to apply for a tax credit offered by the federal government. The Business Energy Investment Tax Credit awards commercial industries up to 30 percent of the cost of any commercial solar installation, according to the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE).

"It’s great to be able to do something so incredibly useful and green with the space on our rooftop," said Ken Baker, chief executive officer of NewAge Industries. "Saving money on our electric bill is a bonus."

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