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State awards $1.8M in solar energy grants to area businesses

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Service Tire Truck Center Inc. in Bethlehem was one of the recipients of $1.8M in Pennsylvania solar energy grants. (Contributed)
Service Tire Truck Center Inc. in Bethlehem was one of the recipients of $1.8M in Pennsylvania solar energy grants. (Contributed)

Five businesses in the Greater Lehigh Valley were awarded more than $1.8 million in grants and loans from the Pennsylvania Solar Energy Program to buy and install solar energy systems.

The recipients:

• Spray-Tek Inc., Bethlehem, was awarded $554,272 to buy and install a 481-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system at its facility. The system will generate 587,344 kilowatt hours of electricity per year, about 23 percent of the building’s consumption.

• Service Tire Truck Service Center Inc., Bethlehem, was awarded a $290,036 grant for a 330-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system on the roof of its tire retreading store at 2255 Avenue A, Bethlehem. The system will produce 410,512 kwh per year, offsetting 21 percent of the store’s electricity consumption.

• Sun Spring 2 LLC, Reading, was awarded $421,348 for a 714-kilowatt rooftop solar photovoltaic system at the Boscov’s Lehigh Valley Mall store in Whitehall Township. The system will generate 909,874 kwh of electricity per year, which will be purchased by Boscov’s through a 25-year power purchase agreement.

• ATAS International Inc., Upper Macungie Township, was awarded a $230,958 grant for a 491.4-kilowatt solar roof at its facility. The system will offset 100 percent of its electricity consumption at is manufacturing facility and an adjoining building in the first year. As part of the grant, ATAS must invest nearly $700,000 of its own money.

• NEE Investments was awarded a $371,250 grant to install a 675-kilowatt ground-mounted solar photovoltaic system at the Bethlehem Authority’s water filtration plant in Northampton. The system will generate 924,000 kwh per year, which will offset 100 percent of the facility’s annual electricity usage. Electricity will be sold to the Bethlehem Authority under a 25-year power purchase agreement. The total project cost is $1.28 million, with NEE Investments providing $911,250.

State Rep. Gary Day (Lehigh/Berks), whose district includes ATAS International, said he was pleased the state grants assist manufacturers who are large energy consumers.

“The ability for this manufacturer to use solar and less fossil fuels will enable it to be more efficient and productive.”

State Rep. Jeanne McNeil (Lehigh), in whose district Spray-Tek, Sun Spring 2 and Service Tire Truck Center will install solar energy systems, said, “By bolstering our use of alternative energy, we are easing the load on the power grid.”

The state’s solar energy program is administered jointly by the Department of Community & Economic Development and the Department of Environmental Protection, under the direction of the Commonwealth Financing Authority.

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