Fiedler visits Middleburg Elementary School, touts ‘Solar for Schools’ legislation

MIDDLEBURG, April 21 – State Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler, D-Phila., on Wednesday visited Middleburg Elementary School, where she toured the school’s solar panel array; met with school officials, teachers, and students; and advocated for her Solar for Schools legislation.

Fiedler unveiled her bill (H.B. 137) at a news conference in March. If signed into law, the Solar for Schools program would issue grants to K-12 schools and community colleges for the purchase and installation of solar equipment, permit fees, energy storage, utility interconnection, and other costs approved by the Department of Community and Economic Development, which would manage the grant program. Paired with funds from the federal Inflation Reduction Act, schools could defray at least 80% of the cost of supplies and installation.

Fiedler was joined by state Sen. Lynda Schlegel Culver, R- Columbia/Luzerne/Montour/Northumberland/Snyder; state Rep. David H. Rowe, R-Union/Juniata/Mifflin/Snyder; Michael Ford, secretary-treasurer of the PA Building and Construction Trades Council; Katie Blume, political and legislative director of Conservation Voters for PA; and Midd-West School District Superintendent Joe Stroup. 

On the tour, Fiedler visited with elementary students who participated in last spring’s “Sun Day,” an event where Middleburg focused educational programming on the topic of solar energy. Students learned about energy transfer and conservation and took part in science experiments such as roasting marshmallows using power from the school’s solar array.

Fiedler expressed her joy in seeing so many students taking pride in the school’s solar array.

“Today we saw that forward-thinking schools like Middleburg are saving thousands each month in energy costs, generating good-paying jobs for skilled workers, reducing pollution, integrating school infrastructure into hands-on education; and inspiring a new generation of leaders,” Fiedler said. “If we pass the Solar for Schools legislation, we can bring these benefits to taxpayers, workers and children across the commonwealth.”

Blume touted how state investment and funding opportunities for solar-based projects can impact students learning.

“It was wonderful to tour Middleburg Elementary School’s solar array this morning with Representative Fiedler, Representative Rowe, and Senator Culver. State investment, combined with funding opportunities from the federal Inflation Reduction Act, will allow us to create hundreds of great projects like this one, which reduce emissions, increase resiliency and create opportunities for students.”

Ford emphasized how solar arrays at schools in Pennsylvania could benefit communities as a whole.

“Building more solar arrays like the project at Middleburg Elementary School will create good jobs for Pennsylvanians. And, with state investment, we can bring more money back from D.C. and put people to work across the state. Because these projects generate electricity, they save school districts and taxpayers money over time, so there’s no reason not to build more.”

Video from the tour can be viewed here: Fiedler advocates Solar for Public Schools - YouTube.