The sustainable redevelopment of a 178-acre riverfront brownfield in Pittsburgh is about to get a huge solar array on its roof

Back in the October 1, 2017 issue of REVITALIZATION, we featured a Guest Article by Don Smith, President of the Regional Industrial Development Corporation of Southwestern Pennsylvania (RIDC). One of the major projects he mentioned in the article was Mill 19.

Mill 19 is a former steel mill located on a 178-acre site formerly owned by J&L Steel Hazelwood Works, then LTV Steel. It’s the anchor development of what is now known as the Hazelwood Green site, the last large riverfront brownfield within Pittsburgh city limits.

Now, on September 17, 2019, RIDC has contracted with Scalo Solar Solutions to install what is thought to be one of the largest solar arrays in Western Pennsylvania on the roof of the Mill 19 redevelopment.

Mill 19 is not just a symbol of Pittsburgh’s prosperous industrial past,” Don Smith says. “It is also a symbol of our present and future economy. The rooftop solar array is a part of an eco-friendly and sustainable design that is a hallmark of our city’s environmental and economic renaissance.

Featuring a building within a building design concept, the mill’s metal walls and roof have been stripped away, intentionally revealing its underlying steel superstructure. Inside the mill’s exoskeleton, there will be a 264,000 square foot high-tech complex separated into three new buildings with light industrial, R&D, office space and outdoor public amenities.

This solar array will produce an energy offset equivalent to 773 tons of coal every year, which is enough to power 169 homes every year for 25 years,” said Michael Carnahan, General Manager of Scalo Solar Solutions.

Installation begins this week. The array, which will include more than 110,000 square feet of high-powered solar panels and produce over two million kilowatt hours (kWh) per year will also be one of the largest single-surface, sloped roof solar arrays in the country.

RIDC’s commitment to environmentally friendly development choices mirrors our focus on energy innovation to create more resilient and sustainable cities,” said Anna Siefken, Executive Director of the University’s Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation.

This solar array, which will allow students and faculty to gather data in real time for research purposes, will showcase our deep commitment to renewables in Pittsburgh and southwestern Pennsylvania,” she added.

Phase A of Mill 19, the first building, now houses Manufacturing USA’s Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Institute , and is soon to be followed by Carnegie Mellon University’s Manufacturing Futures Initiative and Catalyst Connection.

Carnegie Mellon’s engagement at Mill 19 aims to create an innovation ecosystem around the convergence in advanced manufacturing technologies to impact the region – and society at large – in a transformative way,” said Gary Fedder, Faculty Director of the University’s Manufacturing Futures Initiative.

The building’s solar energy array represents an important augmentation in that mission by enabling exciting new dimensions to our research and development activities,” he continued.

Phase B, the second building, will house a corporate R&D center for a global technology company. These two buildings will be net-zero energy as a result of the offset energy the solar array produces on site. It is expected to be completely installed and operating sometime next summer.

We are especially grateful for the shared vision and support of the Richard King Mellon Foundation that made this project possible,” said Timothy White, RIDC’s Senior Vice President of Development.

The mission of the RIDC is to catalyze and support economic growth and high-quality job creation through real estate development and finance of projects that advance the public interest. A not-for-profit entity, RIDC owns over 2800 acres of land in 11 industrial parks and manages over 50 buildings.

Images courtesy of MSR Design / RIDC.

See RIDC website.

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