Power To Save: Sunshine For Shopping Center Energy

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EDWARDSVILLE -- The Gateway Shopping Center in Edwardsville is a well-known place to shop in Luzerne County, but you might not know that its roof is lined with solar panels.

Now the owner is thinking about doing the same thing at another one of his shopping centers.

"Thousands of dollars over the year, yeah, thousands and thousands."

In Edwardsville at the Gateway Shopping Center, the sun is saving thousands of dollars for tenants, thanks to solar panels blanketing the shopping center's roof.

"God gives us the sun. We're just taking advantage of it and we're using it."

Owner Joe Amato was approached to invest in the 200 kilowatt solar panel system after he purchased the shopping center a few years ago.

He and his property manager say the $1million investment was worth it.

"It's nice to use a natural resource, and a shopping this center this size, you definitely do need a lot of power for a lot of different things," said property manager Liana Kissinger.

Kissinger says the solar panels generate power which eventually reduces the cost to light the parking lot of the shopping center and the canopy over the sidewalks.

Amato says the solar panels help them save thousands of dollars every year in electric bills, and this is something they're considering doing at the East End Centre in Wilkes-Barre Township that Amato Properties recently bought.

"We'll probably look at it and have our accountant do the numbers and see if it makes sense."

Some tenants in the Gateway Shopping Center, including Grotto Pizza, feel that switching to solar power is a win-win.

"Obviously, any time you can explore these type of alternative energy sources, it's not only good for what we do because it creates a lot of opportunities for savings an efficiency, but it's also good for the community in general," said Tony Decosmo.

So on the next blisteringly hot day, look up at the shiny spot in the sky because it might be doing more good than you think.

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