Monday, March 29, 2021

Coalition Of Groups Announces Support For Bipartisan Senate Bill To Increase AEPS Solar Energy Share To 5.5%

On March 29, a broad coalition of organizations announced their support for a new bill introduced by Sen. Daniel Laughlin (R-Erie) and Sen. Art Haywood (D-Montgomery) that would help Pennsylvania recover from the economic hardship of the pandemic by harnessing the power of solar and other renewable energies. 

The bill would amend the state’s 2004 Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPS) Act to increase Pennsylvania’s renewable energy goal from 8 percent to 18 percent by 2026, with 5.5 percent coming from solar energy-- up from the current 0.5 percent goal that will be surpassed this May.  Read more here.

The renewable energy industry is one of the fastest growing in the nation, with jobs growing at a rate of 8.7 percent compared to Pennsylvania’s statewide rate of 1.9 percent. 

Since the AEPS was passed in 2004, Pennsylvania renewable energy projects have created almost 5,200 jobs spanning the supply chain, from technicians and engineers to salespeople, construction workers, and manufacturers. 

And according to the Finding Pennsylvania Solar Future Project, increasing the solar portion of the state’s electricity mix alone from the current 0.5 percent goal to 10 percent by 2030 would create upwards of 100,000 jobs and result in a net economic benefit of $1.6 billion annually. This bill would get us on that path to 10 percent.

Support By Coalition Groups

“2020 was a tough year for so many Pennsylvanians on many levels, and we’re hoping this bill will help put us on the path to economic recovery,” said Sharon Pillar, Executive Director of the PA Solar Center. “We thank Senator Laughlin and Senator Haywood for their inspiring leadership on this issue and for introducing this bill. Not only would increasing our goals attract millions of dollars in private investment to Pennsylvania and grow tens of thousands of jobs, but it would create tax revenue for local communities, diversify our energy mix, and present a solution that may save some of our farms without the use of state revenues – all through the common-sense expansion of renewable energy.” 

“I am excited about this bill which moves in the right direction in terms of embracing clean energy and making air cleaner to protect the health of our children, both born and unborn,” said Kim Anderson, Field Organizer for the Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN). 

 For more information, contact Grace Swanson at

“Solar energy means good jobs, cleaner air, and lower energy bills for Pennsylvanians,” said Elena Weissmann, Mid-Atlantic Regional Director of Vote Solar. “Increasing the solar and renewable energy goals across the commonwealth could not come at a more opportune time, with Pennsylvanians working hard to rebuild after the pandemic and ensure a more resilient future. This bill is a critical step towards a healthy economy and environment in Pennsylvania.” 

For more information, contact Hilary Lewis at 202-455-0361 or

"A sustainable future for Pennsylvania needs to be built on clean renewable generation," said Rob Altenburg, PennFuture's Senior Director for Energy and Climate. "Increasing and extending the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard is part of that. This will not only protect public health and the environment, but it will bring jobs and growth to Pennsylvania." 

For more information, contact Jared Stonesifer at 412-443-4466 or

“Promoting renewable energy is a triple win for Pennsylvania: it’s good for our planet, good for our health, and good for our pocketbooks,” said David Masur, Executive Director of PennEnvironment. “It's time for Pennsylvania to finally be a regional leader in tapping into the renewable energy economy." 

For more information, contact David Masur at 267-303-8292.

"Pennsylvanians in rural and urban communities across the Commonwealth want to go solar,” said Henry McKay, Pennsylvania Program Director of Solar United Neighbors. “They want to lower their electric bills and take control over how their energy is generated. By raising the value of solar renewable energy credits, a stronger AEPS will help more homeowners, businesses, houses of worship, and others afford a solar installation." 

For more information, contact Henry McKay at or 412-440-8934.

"The Senate bill is exactly the kind of policy Pennsylvania needs to move forward with a clean energy future while creating jobs and cutting pollution,” said Joseph Otis Minott, Executive Director and Chief Counsel of the Clean Air Council. “The renewable energy targets set by the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act back in 2004 have long needed updating, especially as neighboring states have surpassed Pennsylvania with more ambitious goals.  Rather than continuing to sacrifice billions of taxpayer dollars subsidizing the fossil fuel industry, Pennsylvania needs to fully embrace the environmental and public health benefits of clean energy leadership." 

For more information, contact Katie Edwards at

“Passage of this bill is an immediate tool to help Pennsylvania’s economic recovery,” said Anna Shipp, Executive Director, Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia. “Two of every three clean energy workers in Pennsylvania are employed by a small business with fewer than 20 employees. Nearly half of all clean energy jobs in the Commonwealth are in rural counties, and almost 80 percent are in the trades, construction, or manufacturing sectors. With strong policies like the AEPS, renewable energy will increase opportunities for small businesses in Pennsylvania to start, grow, and thrive; expand family-supporting jobs that advance the financial security of low-to-moderate income households across the Commonwealth; and improve community health outcomes for all.” 

For more information, contact Jared Lowe, Communications Manager at or 215-922-7400, ext. 102.

The PA Solar Center works to increase adoption of solar energy through technical assistance, online resources and policy awareness in order to raise the benefits of solar energy to all Pennsylvanians. 

Questions should be directed to Gretchen Dlugolecki of Rapport Communications at 401-301-0138 or

(Photo: Solar farm at Dickinson College, Cumberland County.)

Related Article:

-- Senators Laughlin, Haywood Announce Bipartisan Bill To Increase AEPS Solar Share To 5.5%

[Posted: March 29, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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