Alternative energy projects

In 2002, the Adams County Commissioners received a $291,877 loan to install a solar hot water system in the Adams County prison. Adams County is a municipal corporation and Sixth Class County of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and is located in the southcentral region of the state. The county experienced a 16.5% population growth based upon comparison of the 1990 and 2000 census, which was the fourth highest growth rate experienced by any of the state of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. The Commissioners of the County of Adams, being mindful of the growth of the County and an accompanying growth in its prison population, evaluated the 1950-era prison and determined that it not longer could be economically expanded, and that the prison’s method of housing inmates was not the best method in light of current prison management practices. Based on this, the County planned for and undertook the steps for the construction of a new county prison. The commissioners took energy requirements into consideration, including water heating methods.

Energy production from this system is well over 1 billion BTU’s of gas equivalent savings per year. Annual gas cost savings are approximately $8,000 per year and will increase to $10,000 in year ten. 300 tons of CO2 are avoided annually, along with up to two tons of SO2, and up to half a ton of NOx.

The Somerset County Campus Foundation for the Allegany College of Maryland was approved for a $25,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Electric Company Sustainable Energy Fund in August 2013. The college was recently involved in a large renovation project valued at around $2.7 million, funded in part by the Penelec Sustainable Energy Fund. They are requesting various grants and are involved in capital campaigning to be able to afford this renovation project. The funds granted by the Penelec SEF will be specifically for energy efficiency upgrades. The upgrades include the installation of LED pendant lights in the shared Somerset County Library/Allegheny College of Maryland Library space.

In 2011, Boyertown Area Multi-Service, Inc. received a $6,500 grant to purchase a new Energy Star® Konica Minolta Color Copier. Boyertown Area Multi-Service, Inc. is an independent, non-profit social service agency dedicated to meeting the needs of the residents of the Boyertown Area School District as well as the townships of Amity, District, Hereford, Pike and Oley. Operating a Senior Center, offering volunteer transportation to medical appointments, serving Meals on Wheels, providing energy assistance, and having a daily emergency food pantry are all aspects of the agency.

In 2005 Multi-Service purchased land to build a new facility to house both the Boyertown Area Multi-Service, Inc. and the Boyertown Area Senior Center, changing the name to The Center at Spring Street. Due to an increase in the number of memberships and the addition of many younger retirees, The Center at Spring Street has grown considerably and has added many new programs such as a walking club, a book club, a supper club, yoga classes, art classes, etc. The aging copier at the agency was used extensively by all programs and organizations associated with Multi-Service, and it would be impossible to do much of the work they need to without one.

The copier was delivered to the Boyertown Multi-Service, Inc. on July 13th 2011, and the organization intends to use it extensively to support programs and organizations for the community.

In 2006, Johnstown Regional Energy received a $375,000 loan for a landfill-to-electric energy project in Cambria County, Pennsylvania. Johnstown Regional Energy, LLC (JRE) is a growing renewable energy company which owns three operating high Btu landfill gas to methane plants in the Johnstown, Pennsylvania area.

The Johnstown Regional Energy landfill-to-electric energy project furthers the mission of the development and use of renewable and clean energy technologies and promoting sustainable energy business.

The project consists of the collection of methane from three area landfills that is then piped into the community. This landfill methane is sold by Johnstown Regional Energy at a fixed rate to local manufacturers.

In 2005, the Spanish energy company Gamesa Technology Corporation was looking to locate sites for wind turbine manufacturing facilities in the United States.

The search ultimately narrowed to  four states, and Pennsylvania came out on top. This decision was bolstered with the support of a $2 million low-interest loan from the MetEd/Penelec Sustainable Energy Fund that assisted the company in placing its blade manufacturing facility in Ebensburg in Cambria County.

“The MetEd/Penelec Sustainable Energy Fund was an early supporter in attracting Gamesa to Pennsylvania. They saw the connection between renewable energy and jobs, and Gamesa’s decision to locate in Cambria County was greatly aided by the fund’s advocacy and financial support,” said David J. Rosenberg, Vice President of Marketing and Communications, North America.

The Ebensburg blades plant currently employs approximately 250 individuals. Additional economic benefits can be found among local suppliers and vendors that work with Gamesa.

“The company considers its Ebensburg facility one of the finest in the world,” a Gamesa spokesman told the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat in 2009 when announcing that the plant would expand to make larger blades.

Gamesa also has a nacelle manufacturing site in Bucks County, bringing the company’s total employment in Pennsylvania today to approximately 800. By the end of 2011, the company will have developed seven wind farms generating a total of 386 MW of clean energy in Pennsylvania.

In 2013, the Met Ed / Penelec Sustainable Energy Fund agreed to loan $500,000 to CEWA Technologies, Inc. of Wyomissing to build the second prototype of its technologically advanced solar-concentrator dish in Berks County.

CEWA moved to Wyomissing in December 2012 from Bethlehem, where it assembled and tested the first prototype on a rooftop in a Keystone Innovation Zone not far from Lehigh University.

“The goal is to use the second prototype to perfect the dish and then begin producing them at commercial scale,” J. Paul Eisenhuth, CEWA president and chief executive officer, said at the time.

“This is a big investment in an alternative energy technology that could ultimately bring highly skilled jobs to Berks County after commercialization,” said Kevin K. Murphy, president of Berks County Community Foundation. “The technology itself could revolutionize the solar-concentrator dish industry.”

Here’s a news release from when this was announced.

In 2016, the East Berlin Community Library (105 Locust St., East Berlin, PA 17316) in Adams County was awarded a $45,000 grant to include solar energy as part of its extensive expansion project.

The library was housed in a historical building that was once a Church of the Brethren. The library was circulating approximately 97,000 items each year from its 2,500-square-foot building. The library outgrew the space in the original church and was adding 8,000 square feet that includes space for additional materials, computers, and classrooms. The library has raised $1,200,000 toward the $1,700,000 project, and secured a construction loan to ensure project completion as they continue their capital campaign.

The library included energy-efficient and green features in its addition. To save electricity, the library placed a 10,000 kWh photovoltaic system on the roof of a section of the new addition. The system offsets a portion of the library’s electricity and includes a battery back-up for power outages. The library will use net metering to capture additional savings when the library is closed but the panels are working.

In 2009, the Metropolitan Edison Company Sustainable Energy Fund provided eCap Network with a $50,000 equity investment and a $150,000 loan. eCap Network, LLC is a full service energy consulting and project development firm targeted to help small-to-mid sized facility owners reduce operating costs and generate new revenue by designing projects to conserve energy and reduce emissions.

eCap has a unique Energy Effciency Program that does not specialize in selling a specific product or service, but instead commits to an entire project start to finish. For the Energy Efficiency Program, eCap first provides free preliminary audits for companies with a detailed project analysis highlighting the benefits in energy and cost savings by implementing their suggested modifications.

The advantage of eCap’s energy efficiency program is in their energy conservation and clean energy experience. The eCap team has led or supported over two dozen level one and two facility improvement audits. eCap has identified opportunities for over 7,500,000 kilowatts of annual electrical savings, over $600,000 in annual utility savings, over 5,000 tons of carbon reduction, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in Act 129 rebates.

In August 2013, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council received a $35,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Electric Company Sustainable Energy Fund. The PA Environmental Council requested this grant to develop a General Permit program for qualifying small- and micro-hydro projects. A General Permit program would make the permitting process more efficient while maintaining environmental protection and safeguards. This is especially important because the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania could be successful in promoting hydropower as a source of renewable energy to meet growing demands because of its large amount of rivers and streams.

The Pennsylvania Environmental Council was founded in 1970 as a statewide environmental coordinating organization and as two separate entities—one responsible for policy work and the other for tangible, on-the-ground education projects. The collaborative of the two, the PA Environmental Council, now protects and restores the natural and built environment through partnerships. The council believes that partnerships with the private sector are a driving force behind improving the quality of life for Pennsylvanians.

Jager & Friends Dog Park (534 South Center Avenue, Somerset, PA 15501) was awarded a grant of $15,000 in 2015 for a solar photovoltaic installation.

In August 2013, Leg Up Farm, Inc. was approved for a $25,000 grant to add solar panels to the newest addition of its building. The facility was designed and constructed as a green building and is in an expansion phase. The grant from the Metropolitan Edison Company Sustainable Energy Fund will help offset the costs of purchasing and installing the solar panels.

Leg Up Farm is a nonprofit organization that provides educational activities for children up to the age of 21 with physical disabilities and developmental delays. The facility opened in April 2010 and is located in York County. Leg Up Farm’s individually tailored therapy coupled with its breadth of services, conveniently centralized location and its child-friendly environment are the keys to the success of the children’s therapy. The organization’s breadth of services includes play therapy, animal therapy, caregiver support, educational programs and much more.

Oley Valley High School was granted $6,022 in August 2013 by the Metropolitan Edison Company Sustainable Energy Fund. Brian Liskey, a science teacher of the high school, was seeking funds to add lab equipment to teach the students more about solar energy. The project fit into the curriculum but the district struggled with funds. The grant from the Met Ed Sustainable Energy Fund allowed the Oley Valley School District to install a solar panel on the high school roof from which the students can track its productivity and data. Furthermore, the students could learn about solar energy and build and compare cells in a classroom lab.

Information about the project from Oley Valley High School.

The Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Association (MAREA) received a $25,000 grant in August 2013 to install a solar hot water system at Opportunity House in Reading, Pennsylvania. The funds that the Metropolitan Edison Company Sustainable Energy Fund granted to MAREA for this solar hot water system would offset hard costs for Opportunity House to install a system like this. It is also expected to save up to 30,000 pounds in greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2016, MAREA received a grant of $7,000 to expand the solar hot water system.

Opportunity House is a multiservice organization that helps people who face various obstacles to independent living. The primary goal is for those they help to achieve and maintain self-sufficiency. Opportunity House provides an emergency shelter, a 24/7 child daycare center in Berks County, case management and more. Since 1998, 92% of families, 84% of women and 86% of men have been successful in transitioning back into the community with housing and sustainable income thanks to the organization’s efforts.

The Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Association is a nonprofit organization on a mission to inform and educate the general public on renewable energy production, energy efficiency and sustainable living. One aspect of its services is donating renewable energy systems to other nonprofit organizations. Every year, MAREA takes on a project pro bono. With the help of the Metropolitan Edison Company Sustainable Energy Fund and MAREA, Opportunity House was able to receive a solar hot water system that would reduce the hot water bill and operating costs for the Opportunity House for years to come.

Information about the project at MAREA.

Green Gas Pioneer Crossing requested and was approved for a loan from the Metropolitan Edison Company Sustainable Energy Fund and the Pennsylvania Electric Company Sustainable Energy Fund for $500,000 in August 2013.The loan funded a fifth generator at the Pioneer Crossing Landfill in Birdsboro, Pennsylvania. This fifth methane-to-gas generator on site will capture gasses that flare off the landfill generating a renewable energy source.

The Green Gas company specifically manages methane-to-gas projects at landfills, coal mines and biogas sites. The company was founded in 2005 and has rapidly grown into an international company. The strong growth in the world’s demand for renewable energy sources provides an excellent environment for Green Gas to further expand its services and activities.

In 2011, Renewable Manufacturing Gateway received a $25,000 grant for general and administrative expenses.

Renewable Manufacturing Gateway (RMG) is a merchant bank, operating in the public interest, tasked with matching start-up companies and projects in the clean technology and renewable energy field with investors. RMG seeks to increase manufacturing and other well-paying jobs in downtown Pittsburgh, in the clean technology and renewable energy industries.

Renewable Manufacturing Gateway assists companies who spent their start-up money and have not yet achieved commercialization, and give them advice on marketing techniques, financial plans, etc., to make them great companies in Pittsburgh. The grant provided by the Metropolitan Edison Company Sustainable Energy Fund was for RMG’s general operating expenses. The agreement that existed with this grant had the potential to create more businesses in Berks County by the work expanding RMG’s geographic base into the Metropolitan Edison Company Sustainable Energy Fund’s service territory.

The relationship created from this grant, as described by Steven Adelkoff, president and chief executive officer of Renewable Manufacturing Gateway, is more valuable than any amount of money that could be given. Although extremely appreciative, he believes what can now be accomplished through collaboration is beyond any sum of money. The ability to create new, sustainable businesses in Berks County is very beneficial to the community and the environment, as well as beneficial to RMG. Renewable Manufacturing Gateway is still new and this grant helped them to expand and gain credibility as a successful company. As of June 2011, one business deal had been secured in the Met Ed territory, and others were in progress.

In 2006, Plextronics, Inc. received a $250,000 loan to fund the research and development of solar products.

Plextronics, Inc., located in Pittsburgh, PA, is an international technology company that specializes in printed solar, lighting and other electronics. The company’s focus is on organic solar cell and OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) lighting, specifically the conductive inks and process technologies that enable those and other similar applications.

The loan provided to Plextronics by the Metropolitan Edison Company Sustainable Energy Fund was for the research and development stage for solar products. Plextronics takes conductive polymers and turns them into ink which then captures light to create power. The ink itself can be placed on anything including roof shingles, siding, windows and more. The product can be effectively used for marketing by placing the ink on retail shelves to light up products.

Plextronics received funding from the Metropolitan Edison Company Sustainable Energy Fund, and from two other Pennsylvania Sustainable Energy Funds. The relevance of a company like this to the sustainable energy funds is power generation and energy efficiency. The ink produces energy by absorbing light, and can emit light using very little power.

Sean Rollman explained that the loan from the Metropolitan Edison Company Sustainable Energy Fund provided Plextronics with funding for research and development, and gave them a sense of credibility as a company. With this credibility they secured additional investments, including interest from some fortune 500 companies. The loan also allowed the company to grow from 35 employees to 75 employees.

The Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC) was awarded $25,000 from the Metropolitan Edison Company Sustainable Energy Fund, which is administered by the Berks County Community Foundation. The grant was used to retrofit three housing units on the PEEC campus with sustainable energy technologies including solar and wind-turbine generated power. Super-insulation materials were installed to ensure maximum efficiency in heating and cooling the living space within the units.

With more than 10,000 students from elementary school through college staying overnight at PEEC each year, these new technologies are also designed to be instructive as to the benefits of sustainable energy technologies. Gauges installed in each unit actually demonstrate both the energy and cost savings of these new technologies.  PEEC Executive Director, Jeff Rosalsky, said, “Though we tell people all the time about the benefits of sustainable energy technologies, this message has far more impact when someone experiences it firsthand.  When we show them the “numbers” of it, they become both believers and advocates.”

The Metropolitan Edison Company Sustainable Energy Fund promotes the development and use of renewable energy and clean energy technologies, energy conservation and efficiency, sustainable energy businesses and projects that improve the environment, said Heidi Williamson, Vice President for Programs and Initiatives at Berks County Community Foundation, which manages the fund. “This project at the Pocono Environmental Education Center will show that energy consumption can be reduced though technology without losing comfort or convenience,” Williamson said. “Sustainable energy technologies are improving every year and are becoming standard practice in new construction and building renovations.”

Jeff Rosalsky also said the Metropolitan Edison Company Sustainable Energy Fund is one of many important partners in PEEC’s 21st Century Sustainability Campaign, which has an objective of converting all existing buildings to more sustainable energy sources over the next several years. He said that PEEC wishes to serve as an example of change for others to follow.  He went on to say that with more than 25,000 visitors each year, PEEC has a huge impact.

In 2003, the Police Athletic League of Greater Reading received a $30,682 loan to install a new energy efficient Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system.

The National Police Athletics/Activities Leagues, Inc. exists to prevent juvenile crime and violence by providing civic, athletic, recreational and educational opportunities and resources to PAL Chapters. Police Athletic League (PAL) is a youth crime prevention program that utilizes educational, athletic and recreational activities to create trust and understanding between police officers and youth.

The Police Athletic League of Greater Reading serves 2,000 children each year, and has remained in the heart of inner city Reading. Over 90% of PAL children live at or below the poverty rate and the majority come from single parent homes. PAL programs are specifically designed to increase a child’s self-esteem, leadership skills, and sense of community and to reduce deviant and unhealthy behaviours. In 2003, the headquarters building, where most activities take place, was in need of a new gymnasium floor, air conditioning/heating and a reworking of all electrical systems. PAL wanted to improve its energy efficiency through the use of better air conditioning/heating units in their recreational area. The Metropolitan Edison Company Sustainable Energy Fund provided PAL of Greater Reading with a loan to pay for the new energy efficient HVAC system.

The new HVAC system was a step in the update of PAL’s headquarters. This allowed PAL of Greater Reading, which later merged with the Olivet Boys and Girls Club, to continue to benefit the community in an updated, energy efficient space.

In 2010, the City of Reading received a $25,000 grant to pay for solar lighting at the 2nd and Oley Park in Reading. The community surrounding the 2nd & Oley Park was fed up with drug dealers and gangs taking over their streets, neighborhoods, and parks. On April 24, 2010, nearly 200 people gathered at the community park to clean it up and take it back for the children in the neighborhood. The clean up was coordinated by the Gilmore Henne Community Fund of Berks County Community Foundation. Part of the effort to revitalize the park included the installation of good lighting that could be on 24 hours a day if they felt it was necessary to help eliminate crime.

In 2010, the City of Reading received a $6,406 grant for the new lighting at the “Welcome To Reading” sign on Route 422. The lighting system in the City of Reading’s “Welcome to Reading” sign on route 422 was broken, and the cost to replace and maintain outweighed the cost of a solar energy solution. The $6,406 grant to the City of Reading allowed the “Welcome to Reading” upgrade project to be cost effective to the city, as well as allocating for a safer, more sustainable form of energy.

“The Met-Ed Sustainable Energy Fund has significantly improved the physical environment through safety and attractiveness at these three locations,” said Mayor Thomas McMahon referring to this project, the Pagoda Lighting Project, and the 2nd and Oley Park Revitalization Project. “We are thankful for Met-Ed’s investment in renewable energy in the city, and believe this could be a model investment for others to follow.”

In 2008, the City of Reading received a $25,00 0 grant to pay for the new LED lighting at the Pagoda. In the 1960s, weather, fire and the ravages of time took their toll on the Pagoda and it was in desperate need of repair and restoration. Pagoda-Skyline, Inc., composed of private citizens, was given official city recognition in 1969 as the fund-raising group to work on a project to renew the Pagoda and develop Mt. Penn as a public recreation area. In 2008-2009, the City of Reading took initiative to put the Pagoda under further restoration.

The City of Reading developed a Reading Pagoda project, which included an exterior and interior building restoration and renovation efforts. This effort included improvements to the existing mechanical and electrical systems. The City looked for ways to improve energy efficiency and stay in code compliance. They determined that replacing the existing red neon lights with LED light sources would be a good step.

Kautter & Kelly Architects (K&KA) was selected through a competitive proposal process to provide the design and construction for the Pagoda renovations. After consulting with SSM Group, Inc., K&KA developed a plan to replace the existing red neon lighting at the Pagoda with LED lighting.

LED lighting, by contrast, was a highly economical and energy efficient option. The research showed the use of LED lighting would allow for greater than $3,000 in energy savings annually. LED lights are not only more energy efficient, but the life of a LED bulb is much greater than that of a neon bulb. LED lights do not require nearly as many repairs, and are in fact designed to require no maintenance after being installed.

The lighting at the Pagoda was phase one of the total renovation project.

According to Mike Kautter, of Kautter & Kelly Architects, the $25,000 grant provided by the Met-Ed Fund, which covered about 12% of the project, was of great importance and helped influence the city’s decision to go through with this project.

A group of small neighborhood businesses, organized by Entrepreneur Connection, requested and received a grant for $14,421 in August 2013 from the Metropolitan Edison Company Sustainable Energy Fund. The grant will be used to fund the renovation of Reading Rising Park. The area where the project will take place is the abandoned lot located across the street from the Reading Area Community College.

A group of 12 students from neighboring school districts will take part in this community renovation project which includes painting a mural and cleaning up the park mostly. The group responsible for the revival project of Reading Rising Park also sought a grant from the Met Ed sustainable Energy Fund to install solar lighting at the park.

The Reading Rising Park project became much more than a park renovation to improve the quality of the city of Reading, Pennsylvania. The project became something that the children involved were thrilled to be a part of. The revival of what was once just an abandoned lot is now the local recreational place to many children in the area.

RiverPlace on the Schuylkill is a community-based initiative inspired by its mission: To use the power of the river as a catalyst to unite communities and foster economic development. RiverPlace’s vision is to create an environment where the Berks County community comes together to enjoy living, playing, and working in and on both sides of the river and its neighborhoods. One of the goals of RiverPlace was to bring solar lighting along the Schuylkill River Trail and Wyomissing Creek Trail in Reading, Pa. The new light would mark the trails and improve safety along the riverfront.

The grant provided by the Metropolitan Edison Company Sustainable Energy Fund assisted in the completion of the $517,913 project by RiverPlace. RiverPlace installed 14 total solar lights that generate 1,594 kWh of energy per year. The energy generated is then stored in batteries that are used to power the lights along the trail. Normally the batteries have enough energy stored to power eight hours of light per lamp per day.

The project has improved safety by marking the trails at night. Law enforcement in the area commented on the “unseemly behavior” being pushed out that normally took place after dark. There have been favorable comments from the community regarding the project. The project really got people to take notice, and observe that there is a way to provide sustainable supplemental lighting in a remote area.

Rodale Institute will receive a $32,371 grant on October 15, 2011 for solar installation at the Visitor Center and Water Purification Eco-Center. Rodale Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to pioneering organic farming through research and outreach. Rodale has been researching the best practices of organic agriculture and sharing its findings with farmers and scientists throughout the world, advocating for policies that support farmers, and educating consumers about how going organic is the healthiest option for people and the planet for over sixty years.

Rodale Institute will add solar panels to its Visitor Center on the 333-acre organic research and demonstration farm in Kutztown. The array of solar panels, produced by SunPower, will be configured to produce 7,176 kilowatt-hours per year under normal conditions. The power output of the panels is guaranteed for 25 years. Benefits of the project will be outreached to the local and national community through on-site educational media, tours, and training workshops, as well as Internet reporting and print publications.

Lou Smith is a co-owner/founder of the Scottish Heights Golf Club in Brockport, PA. The Jefferson County business received a $493,548.95 loan equally funded between  the Metropolitan Edison Company Sustainable Energy Fund of Berks County Community Foundation and the Penelec Sustainable Energy Fund of the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies to assist with funding a solar energy initiative that eliminated nearly 100 percent of the Club’s energy costs for gasoline and electric.

With the reusable energy improvements, Smith estimated that his annual gasoline costs will be reduced from $20,000 to $4,000. The project has also slashed his annual electric expenses from $25,000 a year to somewhere “in the hundreds.”

Smith and his partners, brothers Dennis and James McCarthy, heard about the opportunity for a loan from the foundations’ sustainable energy funds through a company trying to sell him a solar panel system.

When the trio purchased the Club in 1998, it was a 9-hole golf course built on a strip mine for coal with little fanfare and lacking a strong vision.

Since then, they’ve given the property a major facelift in an effort to showcase the beautiful landscape of Northwestern Pennsylvania. More than 40,000 people from all over the region enjoy an elite 18-hole golf course with an award-winning restaurant, lodging amenities for up to 50 patrons and a place for people to spend a weekend at an affordable price.

But right as business was booming in the middle of the past decade, the great recession hit. That coupled with increased competition caused Smith and his partners to think outside the box.

“The golf industry was down, and there’s more and more golfing options out there,” Smith regretted. “The price continued to fall.

“In this business you can’t stay stagnant. You have to come up with ideas and be creative.”
For many business owners “creativity” coincides with cutting costs.

“For us, we couldn’t cut labor because then we were reducing our level of service to our customers,” Smith said. “You can’t cut costs on the golf course (itself) or the quality of the product we offer goes down. We figured that something we could cut without sacrificing either one of those was electricity.”

In 2011, the Club spent nearly $32,000 on utilities alone. The installation of the solar panels was a way to combat that expense spiraling out of control, not to mention help out the environment.

“The solar panels cover the energy expenditures of the lodging, the course, even a house on the property. It’s designed to take care of everything.”

Scottish Heights worked with one philanthropic organization in the past prior to landing a six-figure loan from the foundations. The North Central Planning and Development Company helped to finance the lodging three years ago.

“They (the foundations) were great with the entire thing. They wanted to help move things forward and were fantastic to work with,” Smith said.

Although the improvement made the front page of the local newspaper, Smith thinks it is more important that his patrons are appreciative of the changes. Scottish Heights may also be a trendsetter for courses around them.

“Two golf course owners have already visited and were interested to see how the whole system works.”

The solar panels include a 25-year warranty that guarantees 80 percent production in year 25 – the same amount as year one. The plan was a no-brainer for Smith and his partners, if not a shrewd investment that will be in Smith’s words, “a cash cow.”

“Ten years in the future this project is paid for (in full). There will be no loan payments or expenses.”

Fifteen years after he first purchased the club, its reputation is not only pristine in the community, but its operation is streamlined and environmentally friendly.

“Without North Central and the (Foundations), we wouldn’t be where we are today,” Smith said.

“We’re very grateful.”

United Corrstack, LLC

In 2003, United Corrstack LLC received a $15,000 grant to pay for a feasibility study to determine the financial viability of converting its energy usage to a biomass system, and a $40,000 loan to assist with the design and the acquisition of necessary permits for the project.

United Corrstack LLC (UCI) is an independently owned paper manufacturer of “corrugated medium” supplying the needs of the packaging industry. The paper manufacturing process is energy intensive requiring substantial, continuous amounts of steam and electricity. UCI generates all of its steam from a packaged boiler that is permitted to burn natural gas or #2 fuel oil to generate a maximum of 70,000 pounds of steam per hour. The dependence on fossil fuel sources of energy placed a significant operating expense burden on the mill.

United Corrstack created 30 jobs, and about two thirds of those jobs have gone to residents within Berks County. The company’s dependence on natural gas and #2 fossil fuels was essentially eliminated in this process, and they became energy independent. United Corrstack no longer purchases energy, but in fact exports some to the grid.

Although there was no change in the emissions at their site, United Corrstack now has the ability to offset facilities within their electric generation area that rely on coal energy generation, and essentially reduce pollutants and emissions.

United Corrstack article in the Reading Eagle.

The Pennsylvania Electric Company Sustainable Energy Fund granted $9,000 in December of 2013 to the Zoological Society of Pittsburgh’s International Conservation Center. The grant will be used to make improvements to capture excess heat and expand the productivity of their biomass furnace. Instead of the biomass furnace heating only one barn, they hope to be able to make it heat multiple buildings.

The Zoological Society of Pittsburgh’s International Conservation Center is located in Somerset County, Pennsylvania and it is the highest level of care for the endangered species who reside there. The International Conservation Center is a branch of the Pittsburgh Zoo conservation, research, education and training facility that specializes in the care and breeding of African elephants.

What We Do

The Met Ed / Penelec Sustainable Energy Fund promotes:

  • the development and use of renewable energy and clean energy technologies
  • energy conservation and efficiency
  • sustainable energy businesses
  • projects that improve the environment in the companies’ service territories



Berks County Community Foundation
Community Foundation for the Alleghenies