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Aspinwall continues participation in solar energy program

| Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Aspinwall plans to continue participating in the SunShot program.

The cost is $2,400, equal to about 60 hours of staff time, for phase two of the program.

The program encourages the use of solar energy. Municipalities that participate are in the process of updating their zoning regulations to include solar panel installations.

The borough's planning commission has completed its review of the proposal. The plan now has to be reviewed by Allegheny County and can then come back to Aspinwall Council, solicitor Steve Korbel said.

The proposal also will have to be the subject of a public hearing.

“This is something we probably couldn't consider until May or June at the earliest,” Korbel said.

Though there have not been many requests to install solar panels in Aspinwall, the proposal will establish universal guidelines that can be used if those requests are made, Councilman Joseph Warren said.

“If at any point in the future somebody wants to install anything, there are set guidelines,” Warren said.

The SunShot program is being overseen by PennFuture, a nonprofit based in Harrisburg. PennFuture is currently seeking funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to continue the program.

The first phase of the program included initial work on the zoning ordinance and various programs and seminars.

Aspinwall officials updated the borough's fee list to include a $250 filing fee for solar unit installation last week. The money will cover the zoning review process.

By contributing to the Sunshot Initiative, the borough can be reimbursed for money it spends on anything related to the solar panel guidelines.

Tom McGee is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 1513 or tmcgee@tribweb.com.

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