Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced this morning during the City's first Solar America Cities Training Workshop that the City is aggressively pursuing installing a solar hot water unit in one of the City's firehouses. The announcement came during opening remarks at the workshop, held at the IBEW on the Southside, which will educate and prepare City employees and representatives from universities, businesses and non-profits on the up-and-coming use of solar energy in City facilities and neighborhoods.
"Getting everybody at the table to learn about clean solar energy is the first big step toward developing a larger solar energy plan for Pittsburgh," Ravenstahl said. "Soon, a firehouse that runs hot water on solar energy will further represent our transformation as the black, gold, and green City -- and show businesses and residents that solar is the sustainable way to go."
In 2007, Pittsburgh was chosen as one of the inaugural 13 Solar America Cities awarded $200,000 in grant funding along with $250,000 in technical assistance from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Representatives from the City convened a Solar Pittsburgh Task Force, and with assistance from Sandia National Laboratories, they've been preparing best practices studies with regard to solar permitting, solar zoning, solar financing and solar access laws.
Several months ago the Task Force began reviewing City facilities to determine which could best utilize a solar installation, provide the best possible payback on investment, and serve as a demonstration that solar energy is a viable option in Pittsburgh. Those facilities underwent energy audits performed by Conservation Consultants, Inc.
Through the energy audits and reviews of utility bills, the Task Force concluded that Firehouse 29 or Truck 34 were the best candidates for a solar hot water installation. In the coming days an announcement will be made as to which facility is chosen along with the timetable for issuing a competitive request for proposal and completion of the installation.
The workshop, which wraps up this afternoon at 4 p.m., will include brief tutorials on the basics of solar energy by representatives from the DOE and Sandia National Laboratory. Representatives from the City of Philadelphia, a new addition to the Solar America Cities family, are attending to learn more about the Pittsburgh program and outline collaboration strategies.
After remarks by Senator Ferlo, Mayor Ravenstahl was presented with a Solar America Cities sign by Tom Kimbis, market transformation director for the Solar Program at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
"Pittsburgh is taking the right steps toward developing solar sustainability," said Mr. Kimbis. "I applaud Mayor Ravenstahl and his team for choosing the harder road of first building a sustainable infrastructure, instead of simply throwing up a few solar arrays for a 'quick win'. Today's event clearly demonstrates Pittsburgh is making substantial forward progress in the Solar America Cities program."
Said the Mayor, "I'm proud of the steps we are taking in Pittsburgh to become more sustainable. Whether its expanding single-stream recycling to all neighborhoods, planting more than 700 trees throughout the City, retrofitting all of our traffic signals to super-efficient LED models, or exploring alternative energy sources, we stand committed to the Greening of Pittsburgh."
Monday, January 26, 2009
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Office of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl
512 City County Building | 414 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
telephone: 412-255-2626 | facsimile: 412-255-2687