Friday, August 27, 2021

Farm Bureau, Solar Advocates Support Bipartisan Community Solar Legislation That Will Generate $1.8 Billion In Economic Benefits

PA Farm Bureau and members of the PA Community Solar Economic Alliance told the House Consumer Affairs Committee Thursday legislation to authorize community solar projects will generate $1.8 billion in economic activity in the Commonwealth-- all at no cost to taxpayers.

“Pennsylvania farmers have been at the mercy of low commodity prices and tough markets for years,” said Darrin Youker, director of State Government Affairs for Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, which is a member of the PA Community Solar Economic Alliance. “We’re asking the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to support House Bill 1555 and move it quickly to create new opportunities for farmers to provide for their families and their local communities through new tax revenues.”

House Bill 1555 (Kaufer-R-Luzerne, Bullock-D-Philadelphia) would allow over 230 community solar projects to move forward across 48 Pennsylvania counties, including rural, suburban and urban areas. The projects are expected to save Pennsylvanians who subscribe over $30 million annually.

House Bill 1555 also contains the first-ever prevailing wage requirement included in a Pennsylvania solar bill. A Penn State economic study found that community solar projects are projected to create 12,000 total jobs in the Commonwealth across various industries, including construction.

Close to 80 percent of Pennsylvanians want the option to participate in community solar projects and 60 percent claim they would subscribe if a project were available to them, according to a recent poll conducted by Susquehanna Polling & Research.

“Yesterday’s hearing was an important step toward passage of a bill that will finally allow Pennsylvanians to take advantage of the economic benefits that community solar can provide and modernize the state’s electric grid using private investment,” said Leslie Elder, Mid-Atlantic Director for Coalition for Community Solar Access. “There is a groundswell of support for community solar. With legislation in both chambers, we look forward to bringing this critical economic development program over the finish line so we can bring cost savings to consumers and income opportunities to farmers.”

“Solar energy is now an affordable alternative for many,” said Rep. Chris Quinn (R-Delaware). “The industry will see significant growth in the coming years providing good-paying, family-sustaining jobs, lower energy costs and greater energy independence. I’m grateful to Chairman Marshall and the Consumer Affairs Committee for holding today’s hearing, and I’m hopeful Pennsylvania can seize the opportunity to become a leader in this burgeoning industry.”

House Bill 1555 and and its companion bill Senate Bill 472 (Scavello-R-Monroe) have been supported by the Pennsylvania Conservative Energy Forum, the Coalition for Community Solar Access, Community Energy and other groups.  Read more here.

Those testifying at the hearing included--

-- Scott Elias, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

-- Mark Haas, PECO Energy Company.

-- Kathleen Robertson, Sol Systems.

-- Katie Rever, IGS Energy.

-- Joel Harrington, Enel North America.

-- Brent Alderfer, Community Energy.

-- Leslie Elder, Coalition for Community Solar Access.

-- Tim Mills, Program Manager, Renewable Energy Division, ARM Group (Renewable Works for PA).

Click Here to watch a video of the hearing.


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:


-- StateImpactPA - Susan Phillips: Climate Activists Set Their Sights On Naming Members To PA PUC 

-- StateImpactPA - Rachel McDevitt: PA Climate Scientist Says State, Country Should Take The Lead On Solutions

Related Articles - Community Solar:

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

-- Sen. Scavello Introduces Bill Authorizing Community Solar Projects; $2 Billion Worth Of Projects Waiting For It To Pass

-- Senate Committees Hear New, Proposed Utility Scale Solar Electric Generation Capacity In PA Is Outpacing Natural Gas Generation By Nearly 3 to 1

-- Senate Committees Hear Bill Requiring State Bonding For Solar, Wind Projects Duplicates Local Ordinances, Landowner Leases; Adds New Bureaucracy; And Has A Broader Scope Than Advertised

-- Solar Energy Industries Assn. New Traceability Protocol Allows Solar Companies To Ensure Ethical Supply Chain; Updated Standards For Recycling

Related Articles This Week:

-- PA Conservative Energy Forum: Hosts National Clean Energy Week Events: Next Program Sept. 16 In Cumberland County 

[Posted: August 27, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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