PRINTER'S NO. 491
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
472
Session of
2021
INTRODUCED BY SCAVELLO, LAUGHLIN, BROWNE, KEARNEY, AUMENT,
ARGALL, FONTANA, BREWSTER, MENSCH, TARTAGLIONE, CAPPELLETTI,
COMITTA, MUTH, SCHWANK, BAKER, YAW, COLLETT, SANTARSIERO,
HAYWOOD AND PHILLIPS-HILL, MARCH 23, 2021
REFERRED TO CONSUMER PROTECTION AND PROFESSIONAL LICENSURE,
MARCH 23, 2021
AN ACT
Amending Title 66 (Public Utilities) of the Pennsylvania
Consolidated Statutes, providing for community solar
facilities.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Title 66 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated
Statutes is amended by adding a chapter to read:
CHAPTER 30A
COMMUNITY SOLAR FACILITIES
Sec.
30A01. Findings and declarations.
30A02. Definitions.
30A03. Community solar facilities, electric distribution
companies and subscriber administrators.
30A04. Interconnection standards for community solar
facilities.
30A05. Unsubscribed energy.
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30A06. Customer participation in community solar programs.
30A07. Location of multiple community solar facilities.
30A08. Land management and stewardship.
30A09. Grid services payment.
30A10. Prevailing wage for construction of community sola r
facilities.
§ 30A01. Findings and declarations.
The General Assembly finds and declares as follows:
(1 ) Community solar generation can foster economic
growth as well as opportunities for competition and
innovative business models.
(2) Growth in solar generation will provide family-
sustaining jobs and investments in Pennsylvania.
(3) Programs for community solar generation provide
customers with additional energy choices and access to
Pennsylvania-generated affordable en ergy options.
(4) Community solar programs provide customers,
including homeowners, renters and businesses, access to the
benefits of community solar energy generation that is
unconstrained by the physical attributes of their home or
business, including roof space, shading or ownership status.
(5) In addition to its provision of standard electricity
market commodities and services, local solar energy
generation can contribute to a more resilient grid and defer
the need for costly new transmission and distribution system
investment.
(6) The intent of this chapter is to:
(i) Allow electric distribution customers of this
Commonwealth to subscribe to a portion of a community
solar facility and have the result of the subscription be
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guaranteed savings.
(ii) Reasonably allow for the creation, financing,
accessibility and operation of third-party owned
community solar generating facilities in a way that
ensures robust customer participation.
(iii) Encourage the development of community solar
programs that will facilitate participation by and for
the benefit of low-income and moderate-income customers
and the communities in which they live and reduce
barriers to participation by renters and small
businesses, promote affordability and improve access to
basic utility services.
(iv) Enable a community solar market through
innovative technologies without the need for full retail
rate net metering.
(v) Compensate the electric distribution companies
for efficient and reliable integration of these resources
into the distribution systems through cost recovery and
treatment of payments for grid services as regulatory
assets.
(vi) Enable a community solar marketplace in the
Commonwealth without requiring State or municipal tax
resources.
§ 30A02. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this chapter
shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Alternative Energy Credit." As defined in the act of
November 30, 2004 (P.L.1672, No.213), known as the Alternative
Energy Portfolio Standards Act.
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"Bill credit." The commission-approved monetary value of
each kilowatt hour of electricity generated by a community solar
facility and allocated to a subscriber's monthly bill to offset
any part of the subscriber's retail electric bill.
"Commission." The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.
"Community solar facility." A facility that:
(1) Generates electricity by means of a solar
photovoltaic device whereby subscribers receive a bill credit
for the electricity generated proportional to the size of the
subscriptions.
(2) Is located within this Commonwealth.
(3) Is connected to and delivers electricity to a
distribution system operated by an electric distribution
company operating in this Commonwealth and in compliance with
requirements under this chapter.
(4) Generates electricity by means of a solar
photovoltaic device with a nameplate capacity rating that
does not exceed 5,000 kilowatts of alternating current.
(5) Has at least two subscribers.
(6) Has no single subscriber who subscribes to more than
50% of the facility capacity in kilowatts or output in
kilowatt hours, except for master-metered multifamily
residential and commercial buildings. No less than 50% of the
facility capacity shall be subscribed by subscriptions of 25
kilowatts or less.
(7) Credits some or all of the community solar facility
generated electricity to the bills of subscribers.
(8) May be located remotely from a subscriber's premises
and may not be required to provide energy to on-site load.
(9) Must be connected to an existing or new retail
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electric service at the service location.
(10) Must be owned or operated by a community solar
organization.
"Community solar organization." An entity that owns or
operates one or more community solar facilities that may not be
required to be an existing retail electric customer, purchase
electricity directly from the electric distribution company,
serve electric load independent of the community solar facility
or operate under an account held by the same individual or legal
entity of the subscribers to the community solar facility. A
community solar organization may not be deemed a utility solely
as a result of its ownership or operation of a community solar
facility.
"Electric distribution company." As defined in section 2803
(relating to definitions).
"Electric distribution customer." A customer that takes
electric distribution service from an electric distribution
company, regardless of whether the company is the customer's
supplier of electric generation or not.
"Grid services." Services provided by smart inverter
technology to support the grid and enhance reliability, and
other commission-approved functions.
"Guaranteed savings." Realized savings as the difference
between the cost of a subscription to a community solar facility
and the credit received for the generation attributed to the
subscription.
"Low-income customer." A retail residential end user of an
electric distribution company whose household income does not
exceed 200% of the Federal poverty level, adjusted for family
size, as published periodically in the Federal Register by the
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United States Department of Health and Human Services under the
Community Services Block Grant Act (Public Law 97-1135, 42
U.S.C. § 9902(2)) .
"New job." A full-time equivalent job created during the
initial construction of community solar facilities and paying
the prevailing minimum wage and benefit rates for each craft of
classification as determined by the Labor and Industry
Prevailing Wage Act.
"PJM." PJM Interconnection LLC is a regional wholesale
electric market and transmission organization, approved by the
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, that operates an electric
transmission system in the Mid-Atlantic region that includes
Pennsylvania.
"PJM day ahead energy price." The price for a Pricing Date
that will be that day's Specified Price per MWh of electricity
for delivery on the Delivery Date, stated in US Dollars,
published by PJM under the headings "Daily Day-Ahead LMP" or any
successor headings that reports prices effective on that pricing
d ate.
"Prevailing Wage Act." The act of August 15, 1961 (P.L.987,
No.442), known as the Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage Act.
"Price to Compare." The price per kilowatt hour an electric
distribution company charges, developed based on what the
company pays for electricity during auctions held over a two-
year period on the PJM wholesale energy market, and includes:
(1) Charges for generation and transmission.
(2) The State's gross receipts tax.
(3) The utility's charges for implementation of the
alternative energy portfolio standards.
"Smart inverter." A device that converts direct current into
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alternating current and can autonomously contribute to grid
support by providing each of the following:
(1) Dynamic reactive and real power support.
(2) Voltage and frequency ride-through.
(3) Ramp rate controls.
(4) Communication systems.
(5) Other functions approved by the commission and
published under 15 Pa.C.S. Ch. 74 (relating to the
electricity generation choice for customers of electric
cooperatives).
"Subscriber." An electric distribution customer of an
electric distribution company who contracts for one or more
subscriptions of a community solar facility interconnected with
the customer's electric distribution company. The term includes
an electric distribution customer who owns a portion of a
community solar facility.
"Subscriber administrator." An entity that recruits and
enrolls subscribers, administers subscriber participation in one
or more community solar facilities and manages the subscription
relationship between subscribers and an electric distribution
company. A subscriber administrator may also be a community
s olar organization and may not be considered a utility solely as
a result of a subscriber administrator's operation or ownership
of a community solar facility.
"Subscription." A contract between a subscriber and a
subscriber administrator of a community solar facility that
entitles the subscriber to a bill credit against the
subscriber's retail electric bill.
"Threshold date." The date by which the commission has
approved a tariff filed by a utility under section 30A03(a)(3)
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(v) (relating to community solar facilities, electric
distribution companies and subscriber administrators) and no
earlier than five years from the effective date.
"Unsubscribed energy." The output of a community solar
facility, measured in kilowatt hours, that is not allocated to
subscribers.
§ 30A03. Community solar facilities, electric distribution
companies and subscriber administrators.
(a) Authorization.--The following shall apply:
(1) A community solar facility may be developed, built,
owned or operated by a third-party entity under contract with
a community solar organization or a subscriber administrator.
(2) A community solar organization may serve as a
subscriber administrator or may contract with a third party
to serve as a subscriber administrator on behalf of the
community solar organization.
(3) Subscribers to community solar facilities shall
receive a monetary bill credit for every kilowatt hour
produced by their subscription that may be used to offset any
part of the subscriber's electric bill. The following shall
apply:
(i) A community solar facility that demonstrates
before the threshold date an executed interconnection
agreement, proof of site control, all required
nonministerial permits and proof that the project is in
compliance with section 30A10 (relating to p revailing
wage for construction of community solar facilities )
shall, for 25 years from utility permission to operate,
have the initial and any replacement subscribers of that
facility receive a bill credit equivalent to the electric
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distribution company's price to compare. Within 90 days
of the effective date of this chapter, the utilities
shall file a tariff making the bill credit described
herein available. The c ommission shall approve the tariff
within 180 days of the initial filing.
(ii) A community solar facility that demonstrates
after the threshold date an executed interconnection
agreement, proof of site control, all required non-
ministerial permits and proof that the project is in
compliance with section 30A10 shall, for 25 years from
utility permission to operate, have the initial and any
replacement subscribers of that facility receive a bill
credit as determined by the commission that considers the
electric distribution company's value stack as described
in subparagraph (iv), and ensures that community solar
facilities are created as intended under section 30A01
(6)(ii) (relating to findings and declarations).
(iii) Subscribers to a single community solar
facility may not be permitted to receive compensation
from a bill credit described in subparagraph (ii) if the
community solar facility receives a grid services payment
authorized by section 30A09 (relating to grid services
payment).
(iv) The value stack shall consist of at least the
following:
(A) The PJM day ahead energy price.
(B) A capacity value based on the PJM ELCC
method for solar, wind and storage, as applicable.
(C) The environmental value as set and made
available by subsection (b) of the AEPS or its
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successor.
(D) An avoided distribution and transmission
value determined by the commission. The avoided
distribution and transmission value shall at least:
(I) Use a 25-year view of avoided grid
infrastructure costs.
(II) Use a load forecast that aligns with
State and regional trends and goals.
(III) Require utility data and calculation
transparency.
(IV) Not be overly narrow in the scope of
what is avoidable whether the community solar
facility is paired with or not.
(v) The commission shall solicit feedback on the
criteria for determining the value stack through an
informal workshop process and shall solicit formal
written comments from stakeholders. After the formal
written comments , the commission shall propose the
specific methodology for determining the value stack
based on the criteria through a docketed proceeding.
Within 60 days of the approval of the methodology, the
commission shall use the approved methodology to
calculate the value stack for each utility. Within 180
days of the commission determination of the value stack
for each utility, the commission shall approve a tariff
based on the value stack making the bill credit value
determined by the commission under subparagraph (ii)
available to subscribers. The commission shall approve
the tariffs within five years of the effective date of
this chapter.
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(vi) Subscription costs for low-income subscribers
may not exceed the value of the bill credit and may not
include any upfront or sign-on fees. Subscription costs
are nonbasic utility charges.
(vii) The terms and conditions of receiving the bill
credit may not limit or inhibit participation of
subscribers from any rate class.
(4) An electric distribution company shall allow for the
transferability and portability of subscriptions, including
allowing a subscriber to retain a subscription to a community
solar facility if the subscriber relocates within the same
electric distribution company territory.
(5) A subscriber administrator shall be allowed to
update its list of subscribers and the subscribers' relevant
information in a standardized electronic format approved by
the commission on at least a monthly basis.
(b) Customer protection.--The following shall apply:
(1) Community solar organizations and subscriber
administrators shall be subject to the customer protection
provisions under Chapters 14 (relating to responsible utility
customer protection) and 15 (relating to service and
facilities) and 52 Pa. Code Ch. 56 (relating to standards and
billing practices for residential public utility service).
The commission shall establish regulations that provide for
the protection of customers who have subscriptions with
community solar organizations or subscriber administrators.
(2) The commission shall develop a standardized customer
disclosure form that identifies key information that must be
provided by subscriber administrators to potential
subscribers including future costs and benefits of
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subscriptions and subscribers' rights and obligations
pertaining to subscriptions.
(c) Classification.-- A community solar organization, a
subscriber or a third party owning or operating a community
solar facility shall not be considered an electric distribution
company as defined in section 2803 (relating to definitions) or
an electric generation provider solely as a result of
involvement with a community solar facility.
(d) Duties of electric distribution companies.--The
following shall apply:
(1) On a monthly basis, an electric distribution company
shall provide to a community solar organization and
subscriber administrator a report in a standardized
electronic format indicating the total value of the bill
credit generated by the community solar facility in the prior
month, the calculation used to arrive at that, and the amount
of the bill credit applied to each subscriber.
(2) An electric distribution company shall provide a
bill credit to a subscriber's next monthly electric bill for
the proportional output of a community solar facility
attributable to the subscriber. Excess credits on a
subscriber's bill shall roll over from month to month
indefinitely. Excess credits will automatically be applied to
the final electric bill when a subscription is terminated for
any cause.
(3) If requested by a community solar organization, an
electric distribution company shall enter into a net
crediting agreement with the community solar organization to
include a subscriber's subscription fee on the monthly bill
and provide the customer with a net credit equivalent to the
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total bill credit value for that generation period minus the
subscription fee, provided the subscription fee is structured
as a fixed percentage of bill credit value. The net crediting
agreement shall set forth payment terms from the electric
distribution company to the community solar organization and
electric distribution companies may charge a net crediting
fee to the community solar organization that may not exceed
one percent of the bill credit value. The electric
distribution company shall remain responsible for billing all
basic electric services, including transmission, distribution
and generation charges, consistent with the Public Utility
Code and commission regulation. Customer services provided by
the electric distribution company shall also be maintained,
at a minimum, consistent with existing standards prior to
implementation of a community solar organization under the
Public Utility Code and commission regulation.
(4) An electric distribution company may not charge a
community solar facility, a community solar organization or a
subscriber to a community solar facility a fee or other type
of charge unless the fee or charge would apply to other
customers that are not a community solar facility, a
community solar organization or a subscriber to a community
solar facility. The electric distribution company may not
require additional equipment or insurance or impose any other
requirement unless the additional equipment, insurance or
other requirement is specifically authorized by order of the
commission.
(e) Electric distribution company cost recovery and
c ompensation.--The following shall apply:
(1) A community solar organization shall compensate an
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electric distribution company for the electric distribution
company's reasonable costs of interconnection of a community
solar facility.
(2) An electric distribution company shall be entitled
to recover reasonable costs, subject to approval by the
commission, to administer a community solar program within
the electric distribution company's service territory.
(3) An electric distribution company shall, subject to
approval by the commission, be entitled to recover any
additional costs from the bill credits in subsection (a)(3)
after using the energy, capacity and avoided distribution and
transmission value provided by community solar facilities to
offset the purchase requirements in PJM.
§ 30A04. Interconnection standards for community solar
facilities.
(a) Applications.-- Upon the effective date of this chapter
an electric distribution company shall immediately accept
interconnection applications for community solar facilities and
study the impact of interconnecting these facilities to the grid
using the current commission-approved interconnection rules and
tariffs and in accordance with best practices.
(b) Interconnection Working Group.-- Within 90 days of the
effective date of this chapter, the c ommission shall establish
an Interconnection Working Group between the electric
distribution companies and stakeholders with oversight from
commission staff. The working group shall review, edit, create
or eliminate any policies, processes, tariffs, rules or
standards associated with the interconnection of community solar
facilities, with the goal of transparency, accuracy and
efficiency, to support the achievement of the objectives in this
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chapter. The Interconnection Working Group shall report back to
the c ommission recommended changes within 270 days of the
effective date of this chapter and the commission shall
expeditiously codify any changes.
(c) Administrative fees.-- The commission may impose an
administrative fee on an initial application for interconnection
for community solar facilities. The commission is authorized to
utilize up to five percent of the initial interconnection
application fees generated under this subsection for
administrative expenses directly associated with this chapter.
§ 30A05. Unsubscribed energy.
The community solar organization shall be permitted to
rollover undistributed bill credits from one month to the next
on a community solar facility account, as long as it allocates
the bill credits to subscribers within 12 months. To the extent
bill credits are not allocated within 12 months, the electric
distribution company shall purchase the credits from a community
solar facility at the electric distribution company's avoided
energy commodity cost as approved by the commission.
§ 30A06. Customer participation in community solar programs.
(a) Regulations.--Not later than 365 days after the
effective date of this section, the commission shall establish
regulations to enable participation in community solar programs
by each customer class and economic group. The commission may
establish temporary rules while permanent rules are determined.
The regulations shall:
(1) Be based on consideration of formal and informal
input from all stakeholders.
(2) Establish requirements that ensure access to
programs and equitable opportunities for participation for
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residential and small commercial customer classes.
(b) Report.--No later than five years after the effective
date of this section, the commission shall submit a report to
the General Assembly detailing the participation in community
solar programs by each customer class and economic group,
including the participation by low-income customers and
moderate-income customers. The commission is directed to develop
metrics and on-going reporting systems similar, at a minimum, to
the reporting required by the commission and the electric
distribution companies in section 2806.1 (relating to energy
efficiency and conservation program), Phase I reporting
requirements.
§ 30A07. Location of multiple community solar facilities.
The commission shall, by regulation, establish limitations on
the location of multiple community solar facilities in close-
proximity. The regulations shall:
(1) Prohibit an entity, affiliated entity or entities
under common control from developing, owning or operating
more than one community solar facility on the same parcel or
parcels of land that have been subdivided for the purpose of
developing additional solar projects.
(2) Authorize community solar facilities that are not
owned, developed or operated by the same entity, affiliated
entity or entities under common control to be located on
contiguous parcels.
§ 30A08. Land management and stewardship.
(a) Disclosure.--The owner or operator of a ground-mounted
community solar facility shall publicly disclose information on
how the land under and around the community solar facility will
be managed on the community solar facility's publicly accessible
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Internet website. The information may include a description of
any land use practices that can be beneficial to the health and
quality of waterways, wildlife, flood prevention and
agriculture.
(b) Compliance.--The disclosure requirement under subsection
(a) shall be satisfied if the owner or operator of a community
solar facility provides a copy of a pollinator-friendly solar
scorecard published by The Pennsylvania State University's
Department of Entomology on the community solar facility's
publicly accessible Internet website.
(c) Decommissioning, recycling, potential reuse and
photovoltaic panel removal.--The subscriber organization will be
responsible for a plan outlining timeframes and estimated costs
for decommissioning of the system, including removal, potential
reuse and recycling of panels, at the end of the useful life of
the facility. Funding mechanisms to cover the plan shall be
secured through bonding or other mechanisms and shall take into
consideration salvage value to ensure the costs are not borne by
landowners, the State, c ounty or municipality.
§ 30A09. Grid services payment.
(a) Tariff.-- Within 90 days of the effective date of this
chapter, an electric utility shall file a petition with the
commission requesting approval of the electric distribution
company's tariff to provide the grid services payment to a
community solar facility owner. The tariff shall be available to
owners of community solar facilities that have installed a smart
inverter that applies the settings detailed in the tariff. The
settings shall serve the purpose of preserving reliability
without negatively affecting the operation or production of the
community solar facility. Nothing in this section shall negate
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or supersede Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
interconnection requirements or standards or other similar
standards or requirements.
(b) Payment.-- Until the threshold date, a community solar
facility owner may apply for a grid services payment as provided
for in this section. The value shall be an annual payment of
$0.225 per watt of nameplate generating capacity, measured as
nominal DC capacity output, of a community solar facility. The
payment shall be paid to a community solar facility annually for
the first five years of operation.
(c) Review.-- The commission shall review the proposed tariff
submitted under this section and may make changes to the tariff
that are consistent with this section and with the commission's
authority, subject to notice and hearing. The commission shall
have 180 days to approve the tariff.
(d) Alternative energy credits.--A lternative energy credits
produced by a facility that receives a Grid Services payment may
not be used to meet any requirements from the act of November
30, 2004 (P.L.1672, No.213), known as the Alternative Energy
Portfolio Standards Act.
(e) Cost recovery.-- An electric distribution company shall
recover from its electric distribution customers all of the
costs of the grid services payment made under a tariff or
tariffs placed into effect under this section, the value of the
services payments and all costs incurred by the utility to
comply with and implement this section, in accordance with the
following:
(1) The electric distribution company shall defer the
full amount of its costs incurred under this section as a
regulatory asset.
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(2) After the commission has approved the prudence and
reasonableness of the costs that comprise the regulatory
asset, the electric utility shall be permitted to recover all
the costs and the value and recoverability through rates of
the associated regulatory asset may not be limited, altered,
impaired, or reduced.
§ 30A10. Prevailing wage for construction of community sola r
facilities.
(a) Application.--A community solar facility for which a
bill credit is sought and awarded to a subscriber under this
chapter is deemed to meet each of the minimum requirements
necessary to apply the wage and benefit rates, and related
certification of payroll records, required by the Prevailing
Wage Act. A community solar organization, or the community solar
organization's agent, and all contractors and subcontractors, of
every tier engaged to perform on the community solar facility
must comply with all provisions and requirements of the
Prevailing Wage Act for all new jobs and for all crafts or
classifications performing construction, reconstruction,
demolition, alteration or repair work, other than maintenance
work, undertaken at the community solar facility during the
initial construction and during any period in which bill credits
for subscribers are sought and awarded.
(b) Compliance.--The Department of Labor and Industry shall
enforce this section and shall apply the same administration and
enforcement applicable to any project of construction,
reconstruction, demolition, alteration or repair work, other
than maintenance work, undertaken under the requirements of the
Prevailing Wage Act to ensure compliance.
(c) Notification.--Prior to the solicitation of bids or
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procedures of the proposals of any contract or subcontract
covered under subsection (a), the community solar organization
or the community solar organization's agent, shall notify the
Department of Labor and Industry of the solicitation and request
the issuance of a wage and benefit rate determination for all
crafts and classifications for anticipated new jobs at the
community solar facility. Rate requests shall be in conformity
with the Prevailing Wage Act, and the Department of Labor and
Industry shall issue rates upon request as required under this
section and the provisions of the Prevailing Wage Act.
(d) Violation.--In addition to enforcement authorized under
the Prevailing Wage Act and subsection (b), if, after notice and
hearing, the Department of Labor and Industry determines that
the community solar organization or the community solar
organization's agent intentionally failed to pay or
intentionally caused another to fail to pay prevailing wage
rates or benefit rates as set forth under section 11(h) of the
Prevailing Wage Act for work covered under subsection (a), or
ratified any intentional failure by a contractor or
subcontractor of the community solar organization, the community
solar organization or the community solar organization's agent
shall pay a fine equivalent to 10% of the value of the bill
credit multiplied by the estimated 25-year production of the
facility.
(e) Appeal.--A finding of a violation under subsection (d)
shall be appealable under section 2.2(e)(1) of the Prevailing
Wage Act and 34 Pa. Code § 213.3 (relating to appeals from
determinations of the secretary). Any final determination by the
appeals board under the Prevailing Wage Act may be appealed in
accordance with 2 Pa.C.S. (relating to administrative law and
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procedure).
Section 2. This act shall take effect in 60 days.
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