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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: January 13, 2021 11:48 AM
From: Representative Aaron D. Kaufer and Rep. David R. Millard, Rep. Donna Bullock, Rep. Peter Schweyer
To: All House members
Subject: Community Solar Legislation
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation to enable community solar projects in Pennsylvania to bring energy choice and economic stimulus to the Commonwealth.  

Community solar allows neighbors, businesses, farms, nonprofits and other community members to directly participate in and receive benefits from an offsite solar project connected to their local electric distribution company’s grid. Participants can subscribe to a portion of a solar project and receive credit on their electricity bill for the power produced, just as if the panels were on their roof. 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.  

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. 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 $2billion in economic investments, creating thousands of jobs, and drives innovation, all without raising taxes.  

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 $1.8BN 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
  • 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 are established in 20 other states and the District of Columbia since 2010.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB1555