Solar Energy Powering Innovative Tech Ideas

HONESDALE, Pa. -- A new solar project coming to Wayne County will help power innovative ideas. Innovative ideas power the Stourbridge Project in Honesdale, and now solar energy will help power it.

"Our technology sector was underrepresented here in Wayne County, so they decided to try the concept of a rural business incubator focusing on technology and innovation," said Susan Shaffer, Stourbridge Project director.

That's how the innovative technology co-working space in Honesdale got its start about three to four years ago.

"The idea is to help those entrepreneurs bring those businesses to fruition," said Shaffer. "It could be biotech, it could be agriculture, it could be manufacturing."

The place has free access to the co-working space Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Everything in the building, from the 3D printers to the lightbulbs, is powered by standard electric distribution but that's likely to change this fall.

The roof of the Stourbridge Project is completely barren now but come November, the hope is to have 105 solar panels that will power 50 percent of this building's electric needs.

"3D printers, the laser cutters, the computers, digital media lab, all those resources will get about half their power from the sun," said Jack Barnett of the Clean Energy Co-Op.

The Clean Energy Co-Op is fundraising and writing a grant proposal to the USDA to raise the $63,000 necessary for the solar project. Once the solar array is up, an electric vehicle charging station will be built that will be powered by the solar array that's going up on the roof.

The roof and window projects have helped increase the energy efficiency of the Stourbridge Project building.

"The cheapest and cleanest kilowatt-hour is the one you never use," Barnett said. "We will reduce the carbon emissions and the fossil fuel use, and we'll help the community move forward in renewable energy."

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