|Posted:||April 20, 2021 02:18 PM|
|From:||Representative Christopher B. Quinn|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Increase in Solar / Tier I Targets to Maintain Jobs and Investment in PA|
|As we consider how to rebuild our economy, grow jobs, and create new opportunities for communities across the Commonwealth after the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot overlook that the solar industry as one of the fastest growing industries in America. Farmers, businesses, renters, and homeowners across the state can benefit from the economic growth solar projects generate and the more than $2 billion in new infrastructure investment that solar can bring to Pennsylvania.
Therefore, I plan to introduce the Customer-Generator Energy Choice Act, which would continue the gradual increase of the in-state solar target from 0.5 % to 2.5% for customer-generator solar by June 2030. This modest increase would encourage about 250 MW of solar a year to be developed, driving renewable investments – as the goal rises, the industry brings more in-state investment and jobs to achieve that goal.
When this target was designed over a decade ago, it was forward-looking and helped cultivate the local solar market, which now has hundreds of solar businesses. The Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act (AEPS) enabled municipalities, schools, businesses, and homeowners to install solar systems on their property and receive a credit for helping the Commonwealth meet its goal. Now more than 4,000 Pennsylvanians have a solar job and the Commonwealth jumped from 25th to 16th in the 2020 national solar ranking from the Solar Energy Industries Association.
In addition, the legislation also proposes to continue the gradual increase in the Tier I target from 8% to 15% by June 2030. This increase will account for the customer-generator solar carve out, non-customer generator solar transitioning to Tier I, and additional growth anticipated in other Tier I energy resources that ensures continued regional demand and that PA maintains its status as a net energy exporter. It will also provide for energy security through a diverse energy portfolio.
These proposed increases are necessary because the existing AEPS program flat lines at 0.5% for solar and 8% Tier I respectively on May 31, 2021. Without an adjustment, Pennsylvania will lose jobs and miss out on the economic development and electric-bill savings that consumers in other states are experiencing from investments in customer-generated solar energy.
If we commit to more solar development in Pennsylvania, the industry can unleash untapped economic development in rural, urban, and suburban Pennsylvania. This will not only expand existing solar businesses operating in the state but attract new ones that can put even more Pennsylvanians back to work.
Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.
Introduced as HB1394