Color me green

The crayon company Crayola hopes to turn roughly 15 acres of its property in Forks Township, Pennsylvania, into an array of solar panels. Those panels would help power the Crayola manufacturing plant at Easton.

But the project needs to happen soon, according to Johann Scheidt of the Fotowatio Group, a Spanish energy company overseeing the project. Crayola hopes to receive the Solar Energy (Investment) Tax Credit, a federal program that would pay for 30 percent of the project. ”Without the tax credit, it’s a no-go,” Scheidt said.

According to the Allentown’s Morning Call, the local Planning Commission decided to speed up the approval process for the plant after hearing a proposal that impressed both commissioners and residents.

The program expires at the end of 2008, meaning Fotowatio wants to get to work by the middle of September. It will take about two months to complete construction of the solar panels.

Just a couple of weeks ago we echoed a story about a sizable investment ($350 million) from two groups in Fotowatio, one of them being GE Financial Services. Fotowatio has built several large solar plants in Europe, including one in Spain that’s among the largest in the world (20 MW). The one in Forks would be three megawatts.

”It’s not going to break records, but for the Northeast, it’s very significant,” Scheidt said. As a matter of fact, Gov. Rendell is very supportive of renewable energy in the state of Pennsylvania. Last July he approved a $650 million fund to spur energy conservation and efficiency and RE development.

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