Work on city’s first solar farm begins

SOUTH PHILADELPHIA – The city’s first attempt at an alternative type of energy holds hope that it really is always sunny in Philadelphia.

Construction began yesterday on a 250-kilowatt system of solar panels at the Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant on Pattison Avenue, the first solar installation by the city and part of its lofty goal of purchasing or generating 20 percent of its electricity use from alternative sources by 2015.

The actual panels will be installed at the Water Department facility in February, a spokeswoman for Mayor Michael Nutter said. They will take up an acre of unused land and produce energy equal to that needed for 28 typical homes. All of the power generated will be used by the facility.

“Generating solar power to use at our water treatment facility is win-win,” Deputy Water Commissioner Debra McCarty said. “We reduce PWD’s energy bills, which ultimately benefits our rate-payers.”

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