Saturday, June 5, 2021

Rep. Kaufer Introduces Bipartisan Bill Authorizing Community Solar Projects; $2 Billion In Private Investment Waiting For This To Pass

On June 3, Rep. Aaron Kaufer introduced bipartisan legislation--
House Bill 1555-- authorizing 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. 

It is estimated that $2 billion of investment is waiting for the passage of bipartisan legislation establishing a community solar energy program that could also help save family farms, all at no cost to taxpayers.  Read more here.

This is a companion to Senate Bill 472 (Scavello-R-Monroe) introduced in April.

House Bill 1555 and Senate Bill 472 have been supported by the Pennsylvania Conservative Energy Forum, the Coalition for Community Solar Access, Community Energy and other groups.  Read more here.

“Under current law, individuals who rent, have shaded roofs, live in multi-family buildings, or lack roof access, are unable to directly participate in Pennsylvania’s growing solar economy,” said Rep. Kaufer.  “This bill simply removes existing policy red-tape to allow customers to participate in a community solar project, if they choose. 

“It’s a simple fix that opens a new market sector in the energy industry, spurring almost $2 billion in economic investments, creating thousands of jobs, and drives innovation, all without raising taxes,” added Rep. Kaufer.

Rep. Kaufer said community solar offers many benefits for both participants and the Commonwealth, including: 

-- Economic development across the state through private investment and creation of local family-sustaining jobs throughout the solar supply chain. In fact, a Penn State study recently estimated that enabling community solar would add 12,000 jobs and $1.8 billion in economic development;

-- Saves consumers and businesses money on their electricity bills;

-- Using private capital to provide critical upgrades to grid infrastructure;

-- Provides stable sources of income to family farmers through land leases and cost savings from the ability to participate in this program;

-- Reduces grid costs and benefits all ratepayers by supplying extra energy to the grid during peak demand when prices are highest;

-- These projects can be located almost anywhere - rooftops, parking lots, brownfields, reclaimed mining lands and small parcels of land. Small ground mounted solar arrays are developed using best practices to preserve the land for future generations and are often paired with native plants and pollinators; and

-- All projects are locally permitted and infuse municipalities with increased tax revenues.

Community solar projects can be developed by private owners, municipalities and institutions, stimulating vehicles for true public and private partnerships in communities. 

Community solar markets have been established in 20 other states and the District of Columbia since 2010.

House Bill 1555 was referred to the House Consumer Affairs Committee.

Visit the Solar United Neighbors’ Community Solar In Pennsylvania webpage for more information.


This legislation is one of two bills introduced this session to promote the growth of local solar energy in Pennsylvania, but in very different ways.

In April, the House Consumer Affairs Committee reported out a competing solar energy subscriber program legislation-- House Bill 1161 (Mizgorski-R-Allegheny) which is favored by traditional electric utilities isn’t the same thing as community solar.  This bill is now in the House Appropriations Committee. Read more here.

In October of last year, the House Consumer Affairs Committee held a hearing on this legislation which pointed out the significant differences between community solar and local solar subscriber programs.  Read more here.

Rep. Jim Marshall (R-Beaver) serves as Majority Chair of the House Consumer Affairs Committee and can be contacted by calling 717-260-6432 or sending email to:  Rep. Robert Matzie (D-Beaver) serves as Minority Chair and can be contacted by calling 717-787-4444 or sending email to:

Related Articles - Real Community Solar:

-- Op-Ed: Community Solar Offers Bright Spot Of Revenue Opportunity - PA Conservative Energy Forum

-- Penn State Study Finds Passing Bills To Authorize Community Solar Would Support 12,000 Jobs, Generate $1.8 Billion In Economic Impact For PA

-- New Poll Shows Bipartisan Support Across Pennsylvania For Passage Of Community Solar Bill

-- House Hearing: $2 Billion In Community Solar Projects, Family Farms Waiting For Passage Of Bipartisan Legislation That Costs Taxpayers Nothing

-- New Analysis: Over 200 Shovel-Ready Community Solar Projects Await Action On Bipartisan Legislation

Related Articles This Week:

-- DEP Citizens Advisory Council To Hear About Energy Storage, Climate Change Impacts, Clean Energy Workforce Needs June 15  [PaEN]

-- Bay Journal: Adams County Township Rejects PA’s Largest Solar Energy Project 

-- PJM Successfully Clears Capacity Auction To Ensure Reliable Power Supply; Renewables, Nuclear, Natural Gas Saw Greatest Increases, Coal Saw Largest Decrease 

[Posted: June 5, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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