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Wilkinsburg conference to focus on solar energy in Pa. |

Wilkinsburg conference to focus on solar energy in Pa.

Jeff Himler
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Dave Urchek poses for a portrait in front of his home on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018, while talking about the solar panels he uses at the residence in Derry Township, Westmoreland County.

Solar power supporters will come together Sunday in Wilkinsburg for a free public conference on the state of solar energy in the commonwealth.

The Pennsylvania Solar Congress conference is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Community Forge, a community center located at the former Johnston Elementary School, 1256 Franklin Ave. Breakfast and lunch will be provided.

The Solar Congress will include a series of presentations about solar technology and related policy, as well as ways supporters can get involved with expanding solar power in Pennsylvania. Owners of area homes powered by solar energy will take part in a panel discussion.

Topics will include “Solar 101,” “Solar plus battery storage in the residential setting” and “Driving Electric,” presented by Michael Kirven of the Three Rivers Electric Vehicle Association. An electric vehicle showcase is planned for the center’s parking lot.

The program will conclude with an open forum to discuss priorities for solar supporters in the coming year.

The event is equally applicable to residents who have solar power in their homes and those who are new to the technology, according to organizers.

Those planning to attend may RSVP through the nonprofit Solar United Neighbors of Pennsylvania, which is providing several presenters for the event. According to its website, the group advocates for locally produced power, with rooftop solar systems serving as a cornerstone of that effort.

It has supported development of solar power co-ops in Allegheny, Cambria, Crawford, Mercer and Indiana counties.

While the state Department of Environmental Protection has listed a 2030 goal of having 10 percent of Pennsylvania’s electricity sales come from solar power generated in the state, Solar United Neighbors has called for support of a legislative proposal by Rep. Christopher M. Rabb (D-Philadelphia) that would set a more ambitious goal — for all of Pennsylvania’s power needs to be met by renewable energy sources by 2050.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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