Pennsylvania A Top Solar Power Producer

From Big Pharma to Big Pretzel, we’ve been hearing plenty of good solar news out of Pennsylvania recently. Now, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that the Quaker State is one of the leading states in the nation for solar energy.

The EPA highlighted new data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL’s) latest open photovoltaic survey, which ranks Pennsylvania third nationally in the number of solar projects operating today and fourth in installed capacity. According to NREL, the state now has 2,434 projects that account for 38.5 megawatts of generating capacity–enough to power about 5,800 homes–second only to California and New Jersey (another eastern state that’s been making big solar news recently).

Pennsylvania solar power

image via Synders of Hanover

Today, Pennsylvania boasts about 600 solar businesses and another 130 megawatts worth of projects in the pipeline due to come online by the end of 2011. The state also has 6,700 people working in solar jobs—second to California among all states–according to the National Solar Jobs Census,

What’s behind all the growth? Hangar noted Pennsylvania’s growth has been made possible by large-scale projects across the state, as well as a growing number of homeowners and small businesses choosing to use solar in conjunction with the state’s PA Sunshine Program, which has paid out $94 million in rebates to fund more than 4,855 solar electric and hot water projects either completed or under construction in Pennsylvania.

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.