A new 82 kilowatt solar photovoltaic installation at the RiverCentre convention complex is unveiled in the heart of downtown St. Paul. | Photo courtesy of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
On Monday afternoon in St. Paul, Minnesota, I had the opportunity to see another example of how the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) is helping state and local governments across America meet their goals to save money, reduce pollution, and create new jobs and new business opportunities.
St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, U.S. Congresswoman Betty McCollum, Xcel Energy Regional Vice President Laura McCarten, and I witnessed the unveiling of a new 82 kilowatt solar photovoltaic installation at the RiverCentre convention complex in the heart of downtown St. Paul. The RiverCentre Convention Complex received $1M through the Solar America Communities program, which was funded through the Recovery Act.
While we were speaking several construction workers were hard at work installing the final set of photovoltaic modules on the side of the multi-story parking lot.
The completed project will have 348 American-made solar photovoltaic panels that will generate 100,000 kilowatt hours of energy annually -- enough to power nine homes for a year. The project includes converting more than 1,000 traditional lights in the parking garage into new energy-efficient lamps, saving $50,000 per year simply by saving energy.
The Energy Department Recovery Act funds were supplemented by a grant from the Department and from the Minnesota Department of Commerce. The project is a great example of what can be done when a city like St. Paul manages to assemble federal and state resources and partner with the local utility and other local businesses.
Since 2008, the Recovery Act has created more than 200,000 jobs across the country and resulted in 16,000 megawatts of new electric generating capacity from wind, solar, and geothermal energy.
It’s exciting to see what the Recovery Act actually means to communities like St. Paul. Creative use of the funds led to new business opportunities and new jobs. The city will have an attractively lighted parking structure and clean photovoltaic power. And the community leaders have contributed to improving the quality of their local environment and helping address the challenge of global climate change.
All of us at the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy should be proud to be a part of their success.