Sun is shining on those interested in solar energy

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PHILADELPHIA — Thousands of Pennsylvania homeowners and small business owners eager to slash or even eliminate their electricity bills will be able to install new solar technologies at a discount of up to 45 percent, thanks to a new program.

Big discount

The PA Sunshine Solar Program will provide $100 million in rebates to help fund solar electric and hot water projects, reimbursing eligible consumers up to 35 percent of the purchase and installation costs of solar energy technology.

In combination with federal tax credits, consumers could reduce system costs by 45 percent.

PA Sunshine is part of the $650 million Alternative Energy Investment Fund Gov. Ed Rendell signed in July. It will reimburse homeowners and small business owners up to 35 percent of the purchase and installation costs of solar energy technology.

The governor made the announcement at the home of Capt. Charles and Lynette Bushka in Philadelphia’s Roxborough section.

Making improvements

Over the past few years, the Bushkas have made several energy efficient improvements to their home, including new windows and doors and adding insulation.

They have been waiting for the launch of the state’s solar rebate program to enter into an agreement with Heat Shed Inc. to install a five kilowatt solar system on their home.

Cost

A five kilowatt system could save a typical household more than 50 percent of its annual electricity usage, or at least 4,230 kilowatt hours, which equates to a savings of approximately $620 per year.

Without the PA Sunshine Rebates the installation would cost $30,000.

Solar produces the most energy during those times when electricity rates are typically highest — during the sunniest and hottest days of the year.

Homeowners and small businesses wishing to apply for rebates must first select an installer that has been approved by the Department of Environmental Protection.

The process

The installer will submit all application materials on the consumer’s behalf. Project approval will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are depleted. Rebates will be dispersed to the home or small business owner upon completion of the project.

For more information, rebate applications for photovoltaic systems, and to view DEP’s approved solar contractors, visit www.depweb.state.pa.us, keyword: Pa Sunshine.

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