PECO Goes Solar!

In a plan filed today with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), PECO is seeking approval to purchase 6 megawatts of solar renewable energy credits as part of the company’s ongoing fulfillment of the state’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS). If approved, this would make PECO the first PA utility to purchase and bank solar credits and also supports the company’s ongoing environmental leadership efforts.

Enough energy to power nearly 1,000 homes for 10 years, it would take about 8 football fields of solar panels to produce 6 megawatts of energy. Once complete, the company’s proposal could result in the same environmental benefit as planting more than 48,000 acres of trees or not driving more than 133 million miles.

“As an energy company, being environmentally responsible is not just a nice thing to do, it is the right thing to do,” said Denis O’Brien, PECO president and CEO. “The increased use of renewable types of energy is an important part of our efforts. By acting now, in advance of the requirement, we are helping encourage new solar projects and the development of the renewable energy market in Pennsylvania.”

The AEPS legislation requires that 3.5 percent of the energy used by PECO customers is generated from renewable resources such as wind and solar by 2011. These requirements are measured by renewable energy credits. Renewable energy credits are sold by electric generators on a one-to-one basis each time they produce one megawatt-hour of renewable energy.

To fulfill these requirements, the company seeks PUC approval to conduct a request for proposals (RFP) to purchase 80,000 solar energy credits during 10 years. Both solar farms and companies with large rooftop solar panel systems would be eligible to participate. This proposed process is similar to others conducted by PECO to secure wind renewable energy credits.

PECO launched its first competitive alternative energy RFP in March 2008 and as a result signed agreements to purchase 240,000 wind energy credits during five years. In response to a second RFP, PECO expects to conclude agreements later this month to purchase up to an additional 2 million renewable energy credits during five years.

These efforts are part of an ongoing initiative at PECO to preserve the environment and help customers become more environmentally responsible. The comprehensive program includes the opening of PECO’s first ‘green building’ in West Chester, the installation of a green roof and a new Crown Lights system at the company’s Center City headquarters, work to secure Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for many company work sites, the increased use of hybrid and biodiesel vehicles, support for community environmental projects, and enhanced tools and programs to help customers use energy more efficiently.

They contribute to and support Exelon 2020: A Low-Carbon Roadmap, the comprehensive environmental plan of PECO’s parent company. Exelon 2020 sets the goal of reducing, offsetting or displacing more than 15 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year by 2020. The corporation will do this by reducing or offsetting the company’s carbon footprint, helping customers reduce their greenhouse gas emission, and providing more low-carbon electricity in the marketplace.

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