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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: December 16, 2022 02:46 PM
From: Representative Kathy L. Rapp
To: All House members
Subject: Proper Decommissioning and Bonding of Solar Energy Facilities
I will soon be reintroducing House Bill 2104 of the 2021-2022 session to require the proper decommissioning of solar panels within the Commonwealth.

With solar farms continuing to permeate our landscape, we must assure that long-term sustainability and reclamation concerns are addressed before it is too late.  To do so, I have proposed a plan to assure these facilities are responsibly decommissioned and our lands and landowners are protected.

At this time an old solar panel can be thrown into a landfill while the property leased to these endeavors is left in an unusable state.  Landowners, mainly farmers, need a legal guarantee that their leased property will not be marred by the remnants of solar installations decades from now.  Furthermore, we should assure that the materials used in these facilities are properly disposed of following the end of their utility via a decommissioning plan and monetary bond updated regularly and approved by DEP.

This solar end-of-life concern has been addressed by the Bureau of Land Management on federal lands, by some state governments, and also via municipal ordinances that vary within the Commonwealth.  Pennsylvania should strive for a clear and uniform regulatory policy for all industries, and thus statewide decommissioning guidelines will assure that a high standard is upheld by solar energy installations no matter where they are placed.  The proposed bonding scheme, decommissioning requirements, and applicability of the legislation is the direct result of countless hours and conversations with landowners, the solar industries, local governments, DEP, and farmers that would like to lease their lands for these projects.

I hope that you, too, recognize the long-term concerns of enabling the rapid and largely unregulated growth of solar installations and join me in my effort to proactively address the decommissioning and land reclamation concerns inherent with utility scale solar.

Please join me in cosponsoring this necessary and proactive legislation.

Introduced as HB925