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Choosing A Renewable Energy Source

  • After you know your energy usage and expenses and have reduced your demand, you need to decide what you want to accomplish.  What is your end goal? Are you looking to heat your building, produce electricity, or fuel your vehicle? Learn more about each energy source below, along with a few key points to consider when assessing the feasibility of each resource.


  • Biomass

    Biomass is organic material and can provide heat, electricity and/or power transportation. A fireplace, pellet stove or boiler can be used for heating. Large facilities may find that electricity production is also financially viable with a boiler or anaerobic digester.  Biofuels can power vehicles. The sources available will vary by region and ultimately dictate the financial viability of using this type of energy.


    Geothermal heating and cooling systems utilize underground thermal energy to provide constant humidity and comfortable temperatures while using only enough electricity to power a blower to move the warm or cool air throughout a building. Correctly sizing the system to the space it will be heating/cooling is crucial for efficient operation. Climate, soil conditions, and available outdoor space will dictate the the layout of system. Retrofitting an existing building is possible. 


     Hydroelectric is often cost effective but requires running water on your property. The height the water drops (head) and the flow of water are used to determine the amount of electricity that can be produced and will dictate system design. Permitting can be a long multi-step process.  


    Solar energy can be utilized in many different ways, from passive space heating to water heating to electricity generation. Incorporating passive heating design is easiest in new buildings, but steps can be taken to also utilize it in established buildings. A south facing location that is shade-free is the key factor in determining whether solar water heating and electric generation are possible.   


    Wind energy can be an efficient way to generate electricity, when a resource is available. Proper siting of a turbine (including being in a windy location and well above obstacles, like trees and buildings) is essential for maximum power production. Wind maps can help determine whether advanced site analysis would be worthwhile.

  • After you have decided which renewable energy you are most interested in, scroll down to find more information specific to YOUR location.  Click on your county to find out about renewable energy specific ordinances, net metering with your utility, and local installers.  

    View a statewide map of county renewable energy ordinances.

    Select a Pennsylvania County to Learn More about Project Development There
    Currently Available:
    - Blair
    - Cambria
    - Centre
    - Indiana
    - Somerset

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    Disclaimer: Information provided for reference purposes only and may be out of date/incomplete. Use at your own risk.