Want to see how much energy the country’s largest single-sloped solar array produces at Hazelwood Green’s Mill 19? You can, at any given time, via an online solar monitor showing real-time output.

The public monitor for Mill 19 went live last week when officials flipped the switch to begin using the nearly 5,000 solar panels that cover the building’s roof.

The goal is to produce more energy than Mill 19 uses, says Michael Carnahan, vice president and general manager of Scalo Solar Solutions, which assembled the $5 million installation.

“The day we turned it on, [the panels] literally produced more energy in that one day than my home uses in two and a half years,” Carnahan says. “Obviously, we’re going to overproduce in the summer and probably underproduce in the fall and winter, but when you average it out for the year, we’ll be net zero.”

Solar work in progress in 2019. Photo courtesy of Scalo Solar Solutions.

Scalo has finished work on additional solar panels for Hazelwood Green’s two parking lots and The Plaza, a public park with a pedestrian canopy, and is awaiting the go-ahead from inspectors and Duquesne Light to utilize those.

“We will have that done, hopefully, before the end of this year,” Carnahan says.

The 110,000 square feet of high-powered panels at Mill 19 will produce more than 2 million kilowatt-hours of electricity each year, according to Donald F. Smith, Jr., president of the RIDC, which built Mill 19.

“What was once a rusty old steel mill is now a model for our region’s innovative, cleaner future,” Smith says. “When people look back, generations from now, the way we look back today on our days as an industrial powerhouse, we hope they will see Mill 19 as a turning point for the Hazelwood community and a catalyst for wider revitalization and economic and environmental renaissance.”

The solar panel project brings the Richard King Mellon Foundation’s investment in Mill 19 to $30 million, says Sam Reiman, the foundation’s director. The building is “the launching pad for Hazelwood Green,” he says, “a project that will make life-changing differences” for the neighborhood and the Pittsburgh region.

“Mill 19’s solar panels reflect Pittsburgh’s national leadership in both sustainability and contemporary economic development,” adds Reiman. “This project demonstrates that those two worthy objectives don’t have to be at odds. We can do both together.”

Scalo began working five years ago with RIDC and Almono, the group of foundations that conceived of the Hazelwood Green development, to enable Mill 19 and other parts of the 178-acre site to be entirely sustainable. A power purchase agreement made this project feasible.

Mill 19 is a 90,000-square-foot structure that sits within the frame of the former Jones & Laughlin Steel Company mill. It is home to Carnegie Mellon University’s Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) and Manufacturing Futures Initiative, Catalyst Connection, and Aptiv, the O’Hara-based self-driving car company.

Sandra Tolliver

Sandra Tolliver is a freelance writer, editor and public relations professional in Upper St. Clair.