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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Fields of Light coming to Luzerne County

Assuming this isn't all some big, typical Northeastern Pennsylvania political boondoggle, with graft and corruption and kickbacks and cost overruns and all the stuff that folks in these parts have come to expect, this is actually very good news:

Chamber seeks proposals for solar energy at industrial parks - News - Citizens Voice

From the article:
The Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business and Industry is bringing solar power to two area industrial parks.

The chamber is seeking proposals to develop solar photovoltaic generation systems on vacant property in Hanover Industrial Estates and the Crestwood Industrial Park.

Tom Williams, director of real estate development, said the chamber wants to bring green energy technology to the industrial parks and find ways to make excess land productive. The chamber is searching for a vendor to engineer, design and maintain a grid-connected system maximizing the power generated at two sites totalling 250 acres, according to the request for proposals.
I see this as a creative solution to a distressing problem: what to do with excess space in local industrial parks that lack tenants? Tom Williams is quoted in the article describing the areas under consideration for this project "not viable for industrial development," though I'm not sure how that is determined.

How common is this practice? I have never heard of this being done before. Is this an original idea, or something that has been done before a hundred times?

And where will the solar panels that will be installed be constructed? From my discussions with various solar energy vendors a few months ago, I know that all of the solar panels currently being installed in this area are being manufactured in Delaware or in China. What would it take to get them manufactured in Northeastern Pennsylvania?

I look forward to seeing this product come to fruition. And I hope to one day be able to walk among Luzerne County's own fields of light.

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