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Philadelphia Adds Solar Panels to Historic Bourse Building

Contributing to Philadelphia’s goal to become the greenest city in the U.S. by 2015, the historic Bourse building, the nation’s first commodities exchange, circa 1895, now has 210 solar panels on its roof, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The 43-kilowatt solar system will supply about 3.5 percent of the Bourse building’s energy consumption. Kaiserman Company, a real estate development and management company, said in the article that it expects $8,000 in energy savings in the first year, and more in the following years when the electric rate caps are no longer in effect. The system is expected to pay for itself in five years.

The cost of the system will be offset as much as 60 percent by federal and state solar incentives, according to the article. The company also plans to sell energy credits to utilities.

The solar panels are arranged in five separate sections on the Bourse’s 30,000-square-foot roof to avoid the skylights and the shadows cast by two large penthouses. The solar panels are attached to a racking system created from recycled aluminum by SolarDock, which requires no roof penetration, and are held down by 1,700 ballast blocks, each weighing 33 pounds, according to the article.

Once Peco Energy Co. gets approval, the solar panels can start powering the 10-story complex, now home to offices, shops and 75 tenants.

Other examples of “green” buildings in Philadelphia cited in the article include the Strawbridge & Clothier building and the former U.S. Post Office at 30th Street, which have been renovated to the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver-certification status, and The Philadelphia Free Library’s Central Library, which now has a green roof.

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