SHAMOKIN - The city has committed to a Pennsylvania advocacy group's pursuit of federal funding to offset non-hardware costs of installing rooftop solar panel systems on municipal buildings.

PennFuture is seeking to acquire funds from the Department of Energy's SunShot Rooftop Challenge II. To do so, it's recruiting municipalities statewide to join its effort.

Shamokin's commitment is to provide up to 60 hours of staff time, valued at $2,400. If DOE awards grant funding to PennFuture, the organization will reimburse the city up to $500 for solicitor costs related to solar ordinance and permitting, along with up to $500 for necessary advertising related to public meetings.

DOE is offering $12 million total in its SunShot Rooftop Challenge.

Described on its website as a "professional advocacy" group "for strong environmental and public health policies," PennFuture was created in 1998 by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Heinz Endowments.

It is seeking Pennsylvania municipalities with a combined population of at least 1 million residents to commit to the solar power initiative.

If PennFuture were awarded the grant, it would provide free professional consultation, reimbursement for legal and advertising costs, free registration for accredited electrical inspection training on solar powered systems and free training for municipal staff, according to its website.