Bipartisan PA House bill encourages solar development

Written by on September 4, 2020

Bipartisan PA House bill encourages solar development

By Rachel McDevitt, StateImpact Pennsylvania

September 4, 2020

Luminalt solar installers Pam Quan (right) and Walter Morales (left) install solar panels on a roof in San Francisco on Wednesday. The California Energy Commission approved a regulation that would require all new homes in the state to have solar panels.

Advocates for clean energy say supporting the industry will help Pennsylvania recover economically from the COVID-19 crisis.

StateImpact Pennsylvania’s Rachel McDevitt reports a state House bill meant to encourage solar development is creating a rare moment of bipartisanship.

The measure allows for community solar projects–they’re larger than home rooftop panels but smaller than utility-scale grids.

The “behind-the-meter” projects are owned by solar developers. The energy generated is shared by a group of subscribers who get a credit on their electricity bills for what they use.

Leslie Elder with the Coalition for Community Solar Access says projections show community solar could create 3-thousand jobs in Pennsylvania over the next five years.

“Today there are over 220 shovel-ready projects in over 40 counties ready to go as soon as this bill passes.”

Supporters say the bill also gives an opportunity to struggling farmers, who could lease land for the solar projects.

Lawmakers say safeguards should be created so landowners don’t run into problems like those seen in the natural gas industry, where some royalty owners say they’re not getting what they’re owed.

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