Guest blog with Matt Stern, Senior Director, Commercial Programs at the Philadelphia Energy Authority
Authored by: Louis Langlois, Associate Director of Investments, EDPR NA DG
With this year’s “Invest in our Planet” Earth Day theme, it is important to highlight the vital role renewable energy plays in strengthening our local economy and creating new jobs in the Philadelphia metro region.
Announced in late 2021, EDPR NA Distributed Generation partnered with the City of Philadelphia on their Solarize Philly Program, a city-wide initiative to help all Philadelphians go solar, by making the installation of solar as easy and affordable as possible. The program also supports solar training at the School District of Philadelphia and improves access to clean energy for all neighborhoods across the city. With a specific focus on businesses, namely commercial and retail entities – both small and large – the goal of the partnership is to provide access to onsite, cost-effective, and “Philly approved” clean energy. Earth Day presents an important opportunity to recognize how our community in Philadelphia can build a sustainable future – especially with this year’s theme of “Invest in our Planet.” We all have an opportunity to make a strategic shift to ensure that all our energy comes from local sources that in turn help our environment, create jobs in our communities, and inspire the next generation of clean energy entrepreneurs amongst Philly business leaders and students interested in STEM careers.
Being “green” on Earth Day can happen right where you are, by researching the way you use energy and making the conscious commitment to be powered by clean energy. We’re excited that leading into this Earth Day 2022, we’ve hit yet another milestone with the Solarize Philly Program, with more than 900 property owners across nearly every zip code in Philadelphia having gone solar, with more than $15 million invested in local communities throughout the city. More on that news can be found here.
Solarize Philly is a key component of the Philadelphia Energy Campaign, a $1 billion, 10-year investment in energy efficiency and clean energy projects to create 10,000 jobs. Launched in 2016 in partnership with City Council President Darrell Clarke and led by the Philadelphia Energy Authority "PEA", the Campaign has deployed more than $291 million in projects and created nearly 2,500 jobs.
The transition to clean energy and ensuring the success of Earth Day’s “Invest in our Planet” theme would not be complete without focusing on renewable energy's impact on local workforce development. Solarize Philly ensures that all Philadelphians have an on-ramp to the clean energy economy through its Bright Solar Futures (BSF) training program. BSF supports solar training at the School District of Philadelphia, engaging students in a three-year Career and Technical Education Vocational Program, the first of its kind in the nation.
The program extends to young adults ages 18-30 in partnership with PowerCorpsPHL to support a well-trained, local, diverse workforce ready to fulfill clean energy careers.
In essence, we see this investment in onsite solar generation as something that will continue to pay dividends in the future, providing good, stable jobs for generations to come. Through Solarize Philly, we’re creating momentum to inspire students in our public schools and the youth to become the next generation of clean energy professionals that will lead Philadelphia into the 21st century. The transition to clean energy is happening—but this is just the beginning. We’re believers that Earth Day should be celebrated every day and comes with economic opportunities that are open to every neighborhood and community throughout the city. The Solarize Philly Program has already created more than 100 local jobs, and businesses are lining up to learn more about rooftop, ground-mount, and carport canopy to complement their energy savings needs and ESG goals while embarking on a net-zero carbon emissions journey.
To reach our climate and economic goals as a city, we must build a sustainable economy for all residents of Philadelphia. This comes with the need for dedicated efforts by neighborhoods, property owners, and business leaders to make an investment in renewable energy, and, ultimately, an investment in our green future. Together, we can create more jobs, alleviate poverty, and improve public health for all our neighbors throughout Philadelphia.
We invite you all to take these next steps with us to make sure this Earth Day creates an impact in how we see our role as community leaders and neighbors invested in each other, and an equitable future powered by renewable energy.
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