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June 28, 2017

Solarize Philly launches Saturday amid city's commitment to renewable energy

In the midst of July Fourth weekend, the first citywide push to introduce solar panels to Philadelphia homes will launch this Saturday, July 1.

Earlier this year, Philadelphia City Council announced plans for the Solarize Philly campaign in the hopes it would have a twofold effect: entice more homeowners to invest in solar energy and create new jobs.

The Philadelphia Energy Authority (PEA) promises to be selective when considering solar companies for the project, specifically because of the financial caveat of the campaign: As more and more households sign up, the price of rooftop solar will be reduced. An estimated 120,000 rooftops in Philadelphia are eligible for panels.

The window for homeowners to sign up starts on July 1 and will last through Sept. 30. Any homeowners who sign up during the enrollment period will receive a free solar assessment and quote regardless of whether they go through with the rooftop solar installation.

Because a reported 15 jobs are needed for every 100 solar households, Solarize Philly hopes to create about 75 sustainable jobs in the next year and a half through the program. The School District of Philadelphia will offer a six-week course on solar installation.

The launch comes shortly after the city of Philadelphia pledged to commit to 100 percent clean and renewable energy by 2035, making it the 100th city to join the Sierra Club's "Mayors for 100% Clean Energy" campaign.

In light of the U.S. withdrawal from Paris' climate deal, Mayor Jim Kenney wrote last week on his Twitter, "The Trump administration's decision to withdraw from Paris climate agreement makes it clear we need to double down on our climate leadership." Other facets of this 2035 campaign include the Zero Waste initiative and the TreePhilly program, which will try to make more natural shade thanks to, obviously, trees.