IKEA, Green Mountain Energy Company and Sun Power Electric Bring Solar Electric Power to the Greater Pittsburgh Community
Largest Solar Electric Power Plant in Western Pennsylvania Unveiled to Public
PITTSBURGH, PA — October 30, 2001 — IKEA, the leading home furnishings retailer, Green Mountain Energy Company — the nation's largest and fastest growing residential provider of less-polluting electricity, and Sun Power Electric, a renewable energy developer, are teaming up to harness the power of the sun to generate pollution-free electricity for the Pittsburgh area. Pa. Public Utility Commissioner (PUC) Terrance J. Fitzpatrick joined the companies today to unveil 175 solar electric panels atop the IKEA store in Robinson Towne Centre, and a special public education display in the store's main entrance.
The 30-kilowatt system, known as Green Mountain Solar at Pittsburgh, is the largest solar electric array in western Pennsylvania. The system is owned and operated by Sun Power Electric.
"The power of customer choice has energized the market for renewable electricity in Pennsylvania," said Commissioner Fitzpatrick, who helped to draft Pennsylvania's electric-competition law, and leads the PUC's Demand Side Response Working Group. "The Pittsburgh region is fast becoming a hotbed for green technology."
"The future for pollution-free energy in Pennsylvania just got brighter," agreed A. Clifton Payne, eastern region president of Green Mountain Energy Company. "Energy competition in Pennsylvania, and the tremendous demand of our customers for cleaner electricity have made this new solar project a reality."
Green Mountain Energy Company has been serving Pennsylvania with electricity that is less polluting than what most Pennsylvanians are buying, since the state opened its energy market to competition in 1999.
As a leading home furnishings retailer, IKEA has a long history of initiatives and efforts that help protect the environment for the future generation. IKEA demonstrates its strong commitment to helping preserve the environment and prevent air pollution by donating its roof space free of charge to host the solar project.
"We're excited about playing a role in this new progressive approach toward implementing clean renewable energy, which will benefit our community and the environment," said Jim Anastos, store manger, IKEA Pittsburgh. "As a socially responsible company, IKEA recognizes that every proactive effort for our environment today can make a big difference for our future."
"Sun Power is proud to play a role in Pennsylvania's competitive energy market by working with Green Mountain Energy Company to build this new solar plant. This project demonstrates how energy choice can change the way power is made, and stimulate partnerships that help the environment. The partnership of Green Mountain Energy Company and IKEA made this facility possible," said Steve Cowell, President of Sun Power Electric, the builder, owner, and operator of the solar generation facility.
Today's event was co-sponsored by the Mid Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition (MAREC), an alliance of businesses, public interest organizations and government agencies working together to build consumer interest in and demand for clean renewable energy.
"Pennsylvania is fast becoming the green power capital of the U.S., and the Pittsburgh area is at the forefront of this movement. Projects that are accessible and visible to the public, such as Green Mountain Solar at Pittsburgh, are important proof-points about the power of renewable energy," said Peter Adels of MAREC.
The energy generated by the solar array is part of the regional power system — or grid, helping to avoid electricity made from pollution-causing sources.
Of added significance are the public education benefits at the Green Mountain Solar at Pittsburgh facility. An electronic display unit was installed inside the main entrance to IKEA, where customers can see a real-time readout of the accumulated carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions avoided by the solar panels. CO2 is a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.
The clean power produced from the solar generating station will avoid the emission of approximately 19 tons of carbon dioxide per year. This is equivalent to the carbon dioxide released by driving a car 42,500 miles - - about 70 roundtrips from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia on the Pa. Turnpike.
The solar electric system is attached to the IKEA building on two levels of the roof. The upper roof contains approximately 28 kilowatts of solar modules. Additionally, diners in the store's second-floor restaurant can see a 2-kilowatt array of 60 BP Solar panels installed alongside the dining patio.
"Green Mountain Solar at Pittsburgh is both a power plant and an important public education venue," stated Green Mountain Energy Company's Payne. "In addition to making pollution-free electricity, we're hopeful that the entranceway display and patio panels will enlighten people about the viability of solar energy in their community."
This facility represents the sixth new renewable energy facility in the U.S. specifically built to meet the demand for cleaner electricity from Green Mountain Energy Company customers. In the last two years, five other wind and solar renewable projects have been built because of Green Mountain Energy Company's long-term electricity purchase agreements which support projects like these. The development of new renewable facilities represents the first small, but important steps toward reducing air pollution caused by sources such as coal burning electricity generation. The first five renewable projects are:
- The largest solar generation facility in Pennsylvania located outside of Philadelphia, dedicated in April of 1999 — also developed and owned by Sun Power Electric.
- Three new 700kW Wind Turbines in San Gorgonio Pass in California in July of 1999.
- A 106kW Solar Power Plant located in Hopland, CA dedicated in October of 1999
- The 10.4 MW Green Mountain Wind Farm in Garrett, Somerset County — one of the largest wind farms in the eastern U.S. — dedicated in May of 2000.
- Green Mountain Solar at Berkeley, a 100kW solar power system on top of the PowerLight Corporation's new solar panel manufacturing facility dedicated in December of 2000.
Green Mountain Energy Company has also announced plans to develop two commercial-scale solar arrays in Texas totaling 100 kW in size, and a 25 kW solar array near Cleveland Oh.
About Green Mountain Energy Company
Green Mountain Energy Company is the nation's largest and fastest growing residential provider of less-polluting electricity generated from sources including wind, solar, water, geothermal, biomass, and natural gas. The Company provides customers with electricity - marketed under the Green Mountain EnergySM brand - that is dramatically cleaner than typical regional system power. About a half a million customers in California, Connecticut, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas have chosen Green Mountain Energy Company as their electricity provider. Green Mountain Energy Company's customer demand has helped build a number of new renewable generation facilities in markets across the U.S., including one of the largest wind farms on the East Coast in Garrett, Pa., and two of the largest solar facilities in Northern California. The Austin-based company was founded in September of 1997. For more information on the company's efforts to change the way power is made, please visit www.greenmountain.com
Since its founding in 1943, IKEA has offered a wide range of home furnishings and accessories of good design and function, at prices so low that the majority of the people can afford them. IKEA is recognized as a socially responsible company, and continuously supports initiatives that benefit causes such as children and the environment. Currently, IKEA has 163 stores in 30 countries, including 15 stores in the United States and seven stores in Canada. To visit the IKEA web site, please go to http://www.ikea-usa.com.
About Sun Power Electric
The first all Photovoltaic (PV) utility to emerge onto the marketplace, Sun Power Electric, is a "not-for-profit" organization dedicated to promoting the support and production of solar electricity. Its mission is to develop and implement cost-effective renewable energy generation by building, owning, and, operating solar electric generating stations in order to provide power marketers with a wholesale renewable electricity product. Sun Power Electric is a division of Conservation Services Group, a non-profit organization that has delivered energy conservation services to more than one million homes and businesses for the past 19 years.
About the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition (MAREC)
The Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition (MAREC) is a coalition of businesses, non-profit organizations and government agencies working together to build consumer interest in and demand for clean renewable energy. One of MAREC's projects encourages Pennsylvanians to purchase electricity generated within Pennsylvania from green energy sources such as wind and the sun.
Green Mountain Energy Company Contact: John Holtz (609) 953-1647
IKEA Contact: Michele Acuna (412) 747-0440 x1335
Sun Power Electric Contact: Jennifer Wylde (508) 836-9500 x3221