Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED) Announced $18 Million to Support Alternative Energy Projects in Pennsylvania – including one in Tredyffrin! Could this be the Long-Term Solution to Turf Field Lighting at Delaware Valley Friends School?

This past week the DCED announced $18 million in funding for alternative energy projects throughout the Commonwealth; 37 projects in 16 counties will benefit. The funding was made possible through the Alternative Energy Investment Fund, which was approved in 2008. Senator Andy Dinniman along with his colleagues approved the $650 million Alternative Energy Fund and Dinniman announced that four of the solar energy projects selected are located in Chester County.

The Chester County funding projects include: (1) the Church Farm School in W. Whiteland for the installation of a system both on the roof tops and on the ground: $1.9 million funding; (2) for te development of a planned senior housing community in Whiteland where 90% of its power will originate from a ground-mounted solar system (location is a 7-acre Superfund site): $2.6 million funding; and (3) Aqua PA will power its Pickering Water Treatment Plan in Schuylkill Township with the help of a ground-mounted photovoltaic system: $1.5 million partial funding for project.

The fourth Chester County project to receive DCED funding for an alternative energy project is located in Tredyffrin Township – the Delaware Valley Friends School in Paoli. The Blue Renewal Energy LLC will receive the $124,740 solar energy program grant to purchase and install a solar photovoltaic system at the Delaware Valley Friends School. The 83-kilowatt system will generate 90,000 kilowatt hours of energy annually, which could save the school nearly $11,250 in energy costs every year. The school’s total project cost is $450,477.

Back in late May, there was a public meeting held at Delaware Valley Friends School with representation from the school, the youth soccer association (TEYSA) and neighboring township residents. The topic of the meeting was the lighting of the turf field for evening and weekend games and the associated noise and traffic. The residents believe that the current ‘temporary lighting’ is less desirable than a permanent lighting solution, which would include usage covenants. One of the problems with the temporary lighting is the requirement for a generator whereas permanent lighting would not require a generator. The running of the generator is very noisy and additionally the temporary lighting is deemed more invasive to the neighbors.

My understanding from the meeting was an agreement to continue the dialogue between residents, the school and TEYSA representatives. Does anyone know what the status is on the turf field lighting situation? Is there a follow-up meeting scheduled? I am thinking that the summer would be the best time to resolve the issue before the new school term starts in September.

I was wondering if the solar photovoltaic rooftop system might be viewed as the long-term solution to the turf field lighting? I have no idea how this alternative rooftop energy alternative works or what the timeline is for installation but I wonder if it’s possible to use the system for that purpose? If so, would that be viewed as a satisfactory solution for the E. Central neighbors? (Even if this solar lighting was viewed as a possible solution for the turf lighting, it does not solve the immediate concerns of the local residents) Just thought I’d ask the question . . .

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  1. I’m a resident that lives close to the Delaware Valley Friends School. I was not aware of this energy grant; thanks Pattye for bringing this to my attention. You are right that we should be working on the lighting and noise issues this summer before school starts.

  2. Before we celebrate Mr. Dinniman’s achievement too much, can someone tell me why Pennsylvania, with a $1 billion shortfall, is granting $1.5 million to Aqua for a solar installation? This is a company with 2009 profits of $100 million+.

    1. Mike, I wondered the same thing! Seems to me that they have have every water contract around – $100 million in profits and yet they get a state grant. Interesting. Here I am struggling to find any grants for historic preservation and the Trust is a 501c3; what I wouldn’t give (and we only need $250K for the Jones Log Barn!).

    2. Grant to AQUA because they donated to Kampf….means they are looking for a return on investment… the BIG donation goes TO Aqua in return for ??? what democrat needs help in their area? Oh yes — incumbents running for re-election.

      These WAMS were declared unconstitutional….but legislative secrecy keeps them all afloat.

      This happened at the recent Budget voting — on 7/3/2010. Note that this is reported by the House Republican Caucus….but you can go back a few years (when the Republican were in charge) and find similar concerns voiced by the Democrats at the 11th hour. Bottom line is — Politics is about MONEY>>>>>
      With the state House wrapping up work on the 2010-11 budget, Rep. Curt Schroder (R-East Brandywine) today made one last-ditch effort to remove WAMs from the spending plan. The effort was defeated by House Democrats.

      “WAMs have no place in our state budget, especially in a year when we had to fill a $1.2 billion shortfall in the previous year’s spending plan,” Schroder said, noting that WAMs are grants given to House members at the discretion of legislative leaders to fund projects in their districts.

      “Our state budget should focus on funding essential services – it’s certainly not essential that we provide money for legislators to hand out giant cardboard checks to curry favor with voters,” he added

      On Saturday morning, Schroder attempted to offer an amendment to the state’s Fiscal Code legislation (Senate Bill 1042) calling for WAMs included in the state Department of Community and Economic Development’s (DCED) budget to be the first things cut from the spending plan if Congress fails to provide $850 million in additional medical assistance funding to the Commonwealth.

      “Not unlike the WAMs, this $850 million in revenues should not have been included in the budget plan in the first place,” Schroder said. “We have seen more and more signs that Congress is not likely to deliver this money, which means we will be left with a significant shortfall in funding the $28.04 billion budget.”

      It is estimated that the budget contains $100 million in unnecessary, discretionary WAM spending.

  3. Why ask Mr. Kampf? Why not ask Mr. Drucker — he is the current Rep and should be aware of these types of government grants. He took an amazing amount of credit for a big check to one of his contributors after all.

  4. “Deflect?”

    While Aqua gave $1000 to Mr. Kampf’s campaign, how would he have impact on a PA state grant in Schuykill Township? I suppose he chatted up his pal/opponent State Rep. Drucker or asked for a favor from his amigo Democratic Senator Dinniman? Your argument is laughable, John.

  5. These posts are officially a waste of energy folks. I believe the question about the purpose/source of any grants in a state with a major budget problem (though some call it balanced) was a legitimate one — likewise about why a private company got a grant. So what answers do we get? None but political crap. PLEASE let’s talk about these issues and not just about who we think we can blame. It’s not deflecting John — to me it’s about you stopping any discussion in its tracks to remind us that Warren Kampt is Satan’s delegate to the community. Either we already believe you John, or we don’t really care what you think — but why not put that energy and effort you target Kampf with to tell us something you KNOW that would educate us — not something you think you know or want us to believe.

  6. The numbers on the Delaware Valley Friends project are revealing. The project will cost $450,577 and save $11,250 annually.

    Let’s put #s in terms a homeowner can associate with by moving the decimal point one place to the left. Would you invest $45,000 in an energy system that would save you $1125 per year in electricity? That’s about a 2 1/2% return or said differently, would take 40 years to recover your investment. Not me. At their current costs, these projects don’t make financial sense.

  7. These costs are grants from DCED. I refer you all to multiple articles about this “agency” and the grants it makes — WAMs about projects in incumbent territories….it’s not coincidental that Dwight Evans shared the picture on the $1MM check — nor that the WAMS going to the constituencies through DCED might be associated with being difficult to influence without a purchase…

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