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Pittsburgh Gets Federal Stimulus Dollars for Green Projects

It may have a reputation of being snowy and gray, but Pittsburgh is exploring how it can take advantage of solar power.

Pittsburgh’s plans to make itself into a hotbed for solar power and other green technology got a metaphorical fist bump last week with the visit of two cabinet secretaries to announce funding from the federal stimulus package. [social_buttons]

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced $11 million green stimulus funding during their trip. They also toured a welding and heating and air conditioning training facility at Allegheny County Community College, where officials showed off the skills needed for energy efficient projects. Allegheny County  will get $8.1 million, City of Pittsburgh will receive $3.4 million out of a $3.2 billion pot being divvied up around the country.

Pittsburgh has been studying ways to boost its solar use. While both Alleghany County Executive Dan Onorato and Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl say they will be examining uses for the money, they both said they hope to use it quickly.

Unlike a lot of the stimulus package, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette points out, these energy grants go directly to counties and cites, rather than the state.

“That allows us to be creative,” Onorato told the paper. It’s not immediately clear if that creativity will extend to Ravenstahl’s push for solar in the town. But as a Solar City designee, Pittsburgh is pushing to prove that solar power can thrive in places other than the sun belt.  That includes developing a green jobs training center and a grant to Pittsburgh Plate Glass to develop solar panel windows that has drawn some fire. But if these efforts create synergy, the Steel City could be on to something.

Photo credit: jmd41280 on Flickr, via a Creative Commons license.

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Written By

Dave has over a decade of experience in journalism covering a wide variety of topics. He spent 7 years on the business beat for the Rochester (N.Y) Democrat and Chronicle, covering technology issues including the state's growing green economy. When he's not writing, you'll find Dave enjoying his family, being a bit of a music snob, and praying that the Notre Dame football team can get its act together. He lives in Rochester.


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