Written by LeeAnn Searfoss
Wednesday, 01 June 2011 13:15
When we think of farming, the mind’s eye typically envisions green fields of corn blowing in the breeze on a warm summer day. Not all farms yield crops, however, but they can give “green” a whole new meaning, and their harvest is our world’s most precious resource– the sun.
“Go green.” “Be eco-friendly.” These phrases have become synonymous with our everyday vocabulary. Worrying about the environment and gearing one’s actions toward that purpose have also become second nature to many. Beyond recycling and buying eco-friendly materials, individuals and entire communities are turning to another option to help the planet and the welfare of the people.
Solar farms have been popping up across the country, and across Pennsylvania, in the last several years. Northeastern Pennsylvania is no stranger to the concept and benefits of solar farming.
One of the main companies harnessing the solar energy helping to power businesses, schools, and homes across the region is Keystone Energy Solar Services, owned and operated by Alex Flack and directed by AJ Bittner. Serving the Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Bloomsburg, Williamsport, Allentown, and Back Mountain areas, the company uses different types of photovoltaic solar panels to potentially save organizations bundles.
“What you do is get people together who can take advantage of a tax credit, and they sell the energy to an organization that could use it,” said Bittner. “That’s how a solar farm kind of works.”
With so much production and turnover for the consumer, solar farms may seem like an expensive option for energy for commercial facilities. However, according to Bittner, that is not the case.
“A Power Purchase Agreement or a Guaranteed Energy Savings contract is created between the investment group and the organization. The investment group pays to build the Solar Farm and the organization promises to use the power, often leading to no out-of-pocket expense for the organization,” he said.
He expanded on the less-noticeable benefits that connect to businesses and organizations that use solar energy and described the unforeseen benefits to hospitals and schools alike.
“The benefits for a hospital, for example, are that it is getting energy from a healthier renewable source, like solar power,” Bittner noted.
Keystone Energy has worked with organizations across the region, including Friedman Electric, Payne Printery, and Straub Metal, to name a few. It works closely with organizations to facilitate and maintain their solar energy use, while simultaneously helping the environment.
According to Bittner, Keystone Energy can work closely with school districts to work out the beginning processes of learning about solar paneling and solar energy, but the benefit extends beyond the customary client-business relationship.
“If a school decides to use solar energy, and students get interested in the project, then there is a group that can learn and understand this new form of renewable energy,” he said.
Misericordia University has shown a great deal of interest in creating new solar energy initiatives.
“It is safe to say it is proactive in looking at a renewable project for consideration,” he said.
The benefits for a university or countless other organizations, for implementing solar energy projects are many, Bittner noted. There are also educational benefits.
“Students can become interested in solar energy and learn something new, especially something that involves their school,” he added.
Keystone Energy Solar Services works closely with Pearl Street Consulting.
Keystone does both commercial and residential work. Along with working with organizations, businesses, and school districts, Keystone also helps individuals make their homes more “green” and economically sound.
Keystone Energy Solar Services brings high-quality energy solutions to Northeastern Pennsylvania. As the world focuses on becoming more economically sound, Keystone Energy works at the front-lines of the debate and brings suitable options to NEPA. The solutions are cost-effective and helpful to the environment. And, according to Keystone Energy, “the sun never raises its prices.”
Visit its website at www.keystone-energy.net or feel free to call Keystone Energy Solar Services at 570-613-0301.