On November 19, 2019, the Pennsylvania Solar Center, a new statewide solar energy resource hub established to guide non-profits and small businesses through the solar purchase process and connect them to qualified installers and financing, has officially opened in Pittsburgh.
A project of The New Sun Rising, its 501(c)3 non-profit fiscal sponsor, the PA Solar Center will also offer online resources to all solar stakeholders and will educate decision makers and advocates about advancing robust solar policies in the state.
“The goal of the Pennsylvania Solar Center is to be a one-stop solar resource hub for all Pennsylvanians wishing to participate in the clean energy economy,” said Sharon Pillar, founder and executive director of the PA Solar Center.
“Pennsylvania has been a leader for almost every form of energy development. We are excited to help our state lead on solar energy, too, and to bring the important environmental benefits as well as the huge economic and job growth potential that our neighboring states are already capitalizing on. Global Links exemplifies why we started the Solar Center – to help great organizations generate clean energy that will help their bottom line, so they can devote more of their resources to fulfilling their missions,” she added.
The PA Solar Center’s first cohort project, a 63.2 kilowatt (kW), 10,000 square-foot solar array, will be installed on the rooftop of the warehouse and international headquarters of Global Links, a non-profit that rescues no longer needed surplus medical supplies and home health equipment from hospitals, nursing homes and the community, and redistributes those materials to public health facilities in vulnerable communities around the world and with local, western Pennsylvania nonprofit and safety net organizations.
Global Links collaborates with U.S. healthcare institutions and the Western Pennsylvania community to recover hundreds of tons of high-quality surplus medical materials and home healthcare items every year that would otherwise be discarded.
Global Links’ offices, sorting center and warehouse are housed in a facility originally used for vitamin and supplement manufacturing. The facility’s old roof will be replaced with a reflective white roof that will allow for additional energy generation. Once installed, the array is expected to generate 82% of energy currently being used by Global Links. In comparative terms, the new solar array will produce enough energy to power 6.4 homes per year for the next 25 years and is the equivalent of saving 6,000 gallons of gasoline per year, for 25 years.
“For 30 years, Global Links has worked to improve environmental stewardship in the U.S. healthcare system and to support public health initiatives locally and globally. We continually work to minimize the environmental impact of our own operations and thanks to the help and guidance of the PA Solar Center, we are excited to leverage our location to cover the majority of our own energy needs while serving as a beacon of our region’s commitment to solar,” said Angela Garcia, Executive Director of Global Links.
In 2018 alone, Global Links recovered more than 261 tons of medical materials and supplies that would have been discarded, provided more than $3 million worth of international medical aid to 55 healthcare facilities in seven countries, and provided support to 30+ local organizations.
The Global Links installation project was made possible through the innovative financing tool offered by Scalo Solar Solutions, LLC, and through a grant provided by the Green Mountain Energy Sun Club. “Scalo Solar is proud to be a part of PA Solar Center’s inaugural project. By offering our expertise of the non-profit solar tax-credit model and connections to our roofing company, we were able to contribute substantial savings by optimizing the tax credits needed toward a new roof and solar array for Global Links and the important work they do for the Pittsburgh community. We look forward to supporting the bright future ahead for the PA Solar Center and the solar industry in our region,” the company said.
“The Green Mountain Energy Sun Club is proud to join Global Links in an effort to create sustainable communities by providing renewable energy and redirecting medical surplus away from landfills,” said Stacy Mehlhoff, executive director for Sun Club. “The 63.2 kW rooftop solar array makes this location a strategic one for the Pennsylvania Solar Center, Scalo Solar Solutions and the Sun Club as our shared mission is to install more solar in Pittsburgh and beyond. In addition to the environmental benefits, we are thrilled that the solar array provided by Sun Club will result in an estimated 82% savings on electricity costs allowing Global Links to impact the lives of more patients.”
Featured photo (from the launch party for PA Solar Center) courtesy of PA Solar Center.