Roger Wallace 2017-04-05 01:49:51
As sunlight reflects across the glassy surface of the solar panels, electricity generated within flows through the system. Across the United States, solar power installations have become an increasingly popular and affordable source of renewable energy. In fact, the U.S. hit one million solar installations at the end of February 2017, amounting to about 27 gigawatts of solar power capacity, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. That’s enough power to supply about six million homes. Still, those one million installations deliver just 1 percent of the electricity produced in the United States. Renewable sources of energy and energy conservation are a necessity for the future. Amid rising energy demands and dwindling resources, renewable energy is one of the top three stated priorities of the country, as well as one of the fastest growing sectors of our national economy. In the past year, the industry posted a recordshattering 95 percent increase in solar installations, with utility-scale solar power accounting for a massive 72 percent of projects in 2016. To support the growth of the solar industry, PNC Energy Capital, a unit of PNC Bank, provides financing for the equipment used in solar power installations. PNC is a leader in eco-friendly development. Recognizing the importance of wise investments, PNC strives to integrate conservation, including Water and energy saving technology, into its own building practices. Its nationally recognized commitment to green construction has enabled the bank to lower costs and increase efficiency and productivity as well as enhance the communities where people live, work and play. PNC is the first U.S. bank to apply green building standards to all newly constructed or renovated branch offices — more than 250 to date. This is evidence that PNC can be counted on to raise the bar for building green. In Pennsylvania, for example, a well-known big box retailer uses solar equipment financed by PNC Energy Capital to provide a majority of the power required to operate five of its stores. These energy production decisions are being made more and more, as the cost to build a solar electricity generating system has dropped — and in the last few years, it has dropped a lot. In Western Maryland, PNC Energy Capital has financed solar farms constructed on reclaimed county landfills. Those facilities provide electricity to power local county government facilities at a discounted rate, and send additional electricity to the power grid where it’s sold to other consumers. The only time this makes any sense is if you can deliver power under a power purchase agreement with the developer to equal what the customer is paying for their existing power or less. PNC Energy Capital has been in the solar market segment for 10 years and is one of the largest providers of capital to companies that are in the distributed solar generation business in the United States. It has become a market leader by providing energy services expertise and leadership, the strength of PNC's funding resources and the financing capability to deliver flexible project finance solutions to commercial businesses; federal, state and local governments. While integrating green practices into its corporate philosophy, PNC recognizes that the energy project finance industry is maturing and beginning to reflect more structure with a better understanding of risks and a clearer delineation of roles and the players involved. For additional information about PNC Energy Capital please visit: pnc.com/ef/energy ■ Roger Wallace is vice president of corporate communications and PNC Financial Services.
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