Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Sen. Scavello Introduces Bill Authorizing Community Solar Projects

On June 11, Sen. Mario Scavello (R-Monroe) introduced Senate Bill 705 to authorize community solar projects which allow neighbors, businesses, farms, and other community members to directly participate in and receive the benefits from a solar project connected to their local electric distribution company’s grid.
“Under current law, individuals who are renters, live in an apartment building, or lack roof access, are unable to participate in Pennsylvania’s growing solar economy,” said Sen. Scavello.  “This legislation removes an existing policy barrier that allows individuals to participate in a community solar project if they choose to do so.
“Participants can subscribe to a portion of an offsite solar project and receive credit on their electricity bill for the power produced, just as if the panels were on their roof,” explained Sen. Scavello.  “This program extends to all Pennsylvania residents and businesses the ability to acquire solar energy from a specific community solar project. It also gives citizens and businesses the choice to participate. There is no mandate for participation or request for state funding.
“Community solar projects can be developed by private owners, municipalities and institutions, stimulating the development of true community partnerships,” said Sen. Scavello.
“Community solar has been allowed in 18 other states and the District of Columbia since 2010.”
A sponsor summary is available.  The bill was referred to the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure.
A companion bill-- House Bill 531 (Kaufer-R-Luzerne)-- is pending in the House Consumer Affairs Committee.
For more information on community solar, visit the Solar United Neighbors website. A recommendation to adopt community solar legislation is part of DEP’s Finding Pennsylvania’s Solar Future Plan.
(Photo: 2.6 MW Elizabethtown College Solar Energy Project, Lancaster County.)
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