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A03711
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
HOUSE BILL
No.
1842
Session of
2023
INTRODUCED BY SCHWEYER, MATZIE, MADDEN, GUENST, SMITH-WADE-EL,
HOHENSTEIN, McNEILL, SANCHEZ, SCHLOSSBERG, BRENNAN, VITALI,
KHAN, ROZZI, HILL-EVANS, CEPEDA-FREYTIZ, STEELE, HADDOCK,
CIRESI, NEILSON, GREEN, MEHAFFIE, TOMLINSON, RYNCAVAGE,
KAUFER, ADAMS, KIM, STURLA, FIEDLER, FREEMAN, WAXMAN,
BOROWSKI, TAKAC, BOYD, MENTZER, ISAACSON, DALEY, PARKER,
D. WILLIAMS, CONKLIN, PIELLI, WARREN, FRIEL AND FRANKEL,
NOVEMBER 13, 2023
AS REPORTED FROM COMMITTEE ON CONSUMER PROTECTION, TECHNOLOGY
AND UTILITIES, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, AS AMENDED,
MARCH 19, 2024
AN ACT
Providing for community solar facilities; imposing duties on the
Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, electric distribution
companies and subscriber organizations; and providing for
prevailing wage for construction of community solar
facilities.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Section 1. Short title.
Section 2. Findings and declarations.
Section 3. Definitions.
Section 4. Authorization to own or operate community solar
facilities.
Section 5. Bill credit for subscribers to community solar
facilities.
Section 6. Protection for customers.
Section 7. Duties of electric distribution companies.
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Section 8. Compensation and cost recovery for electric
distribution companies.
Section 9. Interconnection standards for community solar
facilities.
Section 10. Unsubscribed energy.
Section 11. Customer participation in community solar programs.
Section 12. Location of multiple community solar facilities.
Section 13. Decommissioning, recycling and photovoltaic panel
removal requirements.
Section 14. Prevailing wage for construction of community solar
facilities.
SECTION 13. PREVAILING WAGE FOR CONSTRUCTION OF COMMUNITY SOLAR
FACILITIES.
SECTION 14. CONSTRUCTION.
Section 15. Effective date.
Amending Title 27 (Environmental Resources) of the Pennsylvania
Consolidated Statutes, providing for decommissioning of solar
energy facilities and for community solar facilities.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Short title.
This act shall be known and may be cited as the Community
Solar Act.
Section 2. Findings and declarations.
The General Assembly finds and declares as follows:
(1) Growth in solar generation will provide family-
sustaining jobs and investments in this Commonwealth.
(2) Programs for community solar generation provide
customers with additional energy choices and access to
affordable energy options.
(3) Community solar programs provide customers,
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including homeowners, renters and businesses, access to the
benefits of Pennsylvania community solar energy generation
that is unconstrained by the physical attributes of their
home or business, including roof space, shading or ownership
status.
(4) 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.
(5) The intent of this act 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
guaranteed savings.
(ii) Reasonably allow for the creation, financing,
accessibility and operation of third-party-owned
community solar generating facilities and enable robust
customer participation.
(iii) Encourage the development of community solar
programs that will facilitate participation by and for
accessibility and operation of third-party-owned
community solar generating facilities and enable robust
customer participation.
(iv) 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 where they live, reduce barriers to
participation by renters and small businesses, promote
affordability and improve access to basic public utility
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services.
(V) MAXIMIZE THE USE OF FEDERAL MONEY TO PROVIDE FOR
THE DEVELOPMENT OF COMMUNITY SOLAR PROGRAMS.
Section 3. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this act shall
have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise:
"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 other than
volumetric or demand-based distribution charges.
"Brownfield or rooftop community solar facility." A
community solar facility that is primarily located on rooftops
or land that is regulated by the department under the following
programs:
(1) The Land Recycling Program.
(2) The Solid Waste Program.
(3) The Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program.
"BROWNFIELD." REAL PROPERTY, THE EXPANSION, REDEVELOPMENT OR
REUSE OF WHICH MAY BE COMPLICATED BY THE PRESENCE OR POTENTIAL
PRESENCE OF A HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCE, POLLUTANT OR CONTAMINANT.
"BROWNFIELD OR ROOFTOP COMMUNITY SOLAR FACILITY." A
COMMUNITY SOLAR FACILITY THAT IS PRIMARILY LOCATED ON ROOFTOPS
OR LAND THAT IS A BROWNFIELD.
"Commission." The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.
"Community solar facility." A facility that meets all of the
following criteria:
(1) Is located within this Commonwealth.
(2) Is connected to and delivers electricity to a
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distribution system operated by an electric distribution
company operating in this Commonwealth and in compliance with
requirements under this act.
(3) Generates electricity by means of a solar
photovoltaic device with a nameplate capacity rating that
does not exceed:
(i) 5,000 kilowatts of alternating current for a
facility that is not a brownfield or rooftop community
solar facility; and
(ii) 20,000 kilowatts of alternating current for a
facility that is not a brownfield or rooftop community
solar facility.
(4) Has no single subscriber who subscribes to more than
50% of the facility capacity in kilowatts or output in
kilowatt hours, except for a master-metered multifamily
residential and OR commercial building.
(5) No less than 50% of the facility capacity is
subscribed by subscriptions of 25 kilowatts or less.
(6) Credits some or all of the facility-generated
electricity to the bills of subscribers.
(7) May be located remotely from a subscriber's premises
and is not required to provide energy to on-site load.
(8) Is owned or operated by a community solar
organization.
(9) DELIVERS THE AMOUNT OF ENERGY AND CAPACITY THAT IS
CONTRACTED BY EACH CUSTOMER.
"Community solar organization." As follows:
(1) An entity that owns or operates a community solar
facility and is not required to:
(i) be an existing retail electric customer;
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(ii) purchase electricity directly from the electric
distribution company;
(iii) serve electric load independent of the
community solar facility; or
(iv) operate under an account held by the same
individual or legal entity of the subscribers to the
community solar facility.
(2) For the purpose of this definition, a community
solar organization shall not be deemed a public utility
solely as a result of the organization's ownership or
operation of a community solar facility.
"Decommissioning plan." A document on file with a county
recorder of deeds detailing the measures that will be taken to
decommission a community solar facility and the amount, form and
timing of financial assurance.
"Department." The Department of Environmental Protection of
the Commonwealth.
"Electric distribution company." As defined in 66 Pa.C.S. §
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.
"Guaranteed savings." Realized savings BY A SUBSCRIBER FROM
A COMMUNITY SOLAR ORGANIZATION MANIFESTED as the difference
between the cost of a subscription PAID to a community solar
facility and the credit received ON THE SUBSCRIBER'S ELECTRIC
BILL for the generation attributed to the subscription.
"Initial and replacement subscribers." Each subscriber to a
single community solar facility over the life of the facility.
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"LOW-INCOME." A FAMILY INCOME AT OR BELOW 150% OF THE
POVERTY LINE AS DEFINED IN 42 U.S.C. § 9902(2) (RELATING TO
DEFINITIONS) BASED ON THE SIZE OF THE FAMILY.
"Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage Act." The act of August 15,
1961 (P.L.987, No.442), known as the Pennsylvania Prevailing
Wage Act.
"Public utility." As defined in 66 Pa.C.S. § 102 (relating
to definitions).
"Subscriber." An electric distribution customer of an
electric distribution company who contracts for a subscription
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 a subscriber, administers subscriber participation in a
community solar facility and manages the subscription
relationship between subscribers and an electric distribution
company. The term includes a community solar organization. For
the purpose of this definition, a subscriber administrator shall
not be considered a public utility solely as a result of the
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, measured in kilowatt
hours, and applied against the subscriber's retail electric
bill.
"Unsubscribed energy." The output of a community solar
facility, measured in kilowatt hours, that is not allocated to
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subscribers.
Section 4. Authorization to own or operate community solar
facilities.
A community solar organization or subscriber administrator
may develop, build, own or operate a community solar facility. 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. Renewable energy credits that are associated with
the generation of electricity by a community solar facility
shall be the property of the community solar organization and
may be retired or transferred by the community solar
organization or retired on behalf of the subscribers.
Section 5. Bill credit for subscribers to community solar
facilities.
(a) Credit.--A subscriber to a community solar facility
shall receive a monetary bill credit for every kilowatt hour
produced by the subscriber's subscription. A community solar
facility that demonstrates all of the following to the
commission shall have the initial and replacement subscribers of
the community solar facility receive a bill credit from the date
the community solar facility is authorized by the commission to
operate:
(1) An executed interconnection agreement with an
electric distribution company obtained in accordance with 52
Pa. Code Ch. 75 (relating to alternative energy portfolio
standards).
(2) Proof of site control.
(3) The required nonministerial permits.
(4) Proof that the community solar facility will be at
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least 75% 50% subscribed on the date the community solar
facility receives permission to operate.
(5) A signed agreement for a commission-approved
workforce development requirement.
(6) Proof that the community solar facility is
constructed or, if not yet constructed, an attestation that
the community solar facility will be in compliance with
section 14. 13.
(7) A COMMUNITY SOLAR ORGANIZATION OR SUBSCRIBER
ADMINISTRATOR WILL NOT BILL A SUBSCRIBER FOR SERVICES
PROVIDED BY AN ELECTRIC DISTRIBUTION COMPANY. AN ELECTRIC
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY MAY NOT BILL A SUBSCRIBER FOR
SUBSCRIPTION COSTS TO A COMMUNITY SOLAR ORGANIZATION.
(b) Establishment of credit.--Within 180 days of the
effective date of this subsection, the commission shall
establish a bill credit for a public utility that appropriately
values the energy, capacity and transmission values produced by
a community solar facility and is not less than the bill credit
established under 52 Pa. Code § 75.13(e) (relating to general
provisions). The terms and conditions of receiving the bill
credit may not limit or inhibit participation of subscribers
from any rate class.
Section 6. Protection for customers.
(a) Customer protection provisons.--A community solar
organization or subscriber administrator shall be subject to the
customer protection provisions under 66 Pa.C.S. Chs. 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 promulgate
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regulations providing for the protection of a residential
customer who has a subscription with a community solar
organization or subscriber administrator.
(b) Standardized customer disclosure form.--The commission
shall develop a standardized customer disclosure form IN ENGLISH
AND SPANISH for a residential customer that identifies key
information that is required to be provided by a subscriber
administrator to a potential residential subscriber, including
future costs and benefits of a subscription and the subscriber's
rights and obligations pertaining to a subscription.
(c) Subscription costs.--The subscription costs for a
subscriber may not exceed the value of the bill credit and may
not include any upfront or sign-on fees or credit checks. The
subscription costs shall be nonbasic public utility charges.
Failure to pay a subscription may result in the loss of a
subscription but shall not impact public utility services.
(d) Benefits and costs.--The commission shall maximize
benefits and minimize costs to each rate class, notwithstanding
participation in a community solar program.
(E) FEES PROHIBITED.--A COMMUNITY SOLAR ORGANIZATION MAY NOT
IMPOSE A TERMINATION OR CANCELLATION FEE ON A SUBSCRIBER.
(F) ENERGY EFFICIENCY CHARGES.--A COMMUNITY SOLAR
ORGANIZATION SHALL BILL A SUBSCRIBER FOR UNIVERSAL SERVICES OR
ENERGY EFFICIENCY CHARGES AND REMIT THE MONEY COLLECTED TO AN
ELECTRIC DISTRIBUTION COMPANY TO PREVENT THE DISTRIBUTION OF
CHARGES TO CUSTOMERS OF THE ELECTRIC DISTRIBUTION COMPANY WHO DO
NOT SUBSCRIBE TO THE COMMUNITY SOLAR ORGANIZATION.
Section 7. Duties of electric distribution companies.
(a) Report on bill credit.--On a monthly basis, an electric
distribution company shall provide to a community solar
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organization or 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 the total value
of the bill credit and the amount of the bill credit applied to
each subscriber.
(b) Application of bill credit.--An electric distribution
company shall apply 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. An
electric distribution company shall automatically apply excess
credits to the final electric bill when a subscription is
terminated for any cause.
(c) Transferability.--An electric distribution company shall
permit the transferability and portability of subscriptions if a
subscriber relocates within the same electric distribution
company territory.
Section 8. Compensation and cost recovery for electric
distribution companies.
(a) Compensation.--A community solar organization shall
compensate an electric distribution company for the electric
distribution company's reasonable costs of interconnection of a
community solar facility.
(b) Cost recovery.--An electric distribution company may
recover reasonable costs from each subscriber ORGANIZATION,
subject to approval by the commission, to administer a community
solar program within the electric distribution company's service
territory of a community solar facility. The Commonwealth shall
maximize Federal and State funds for energy assistance, clean
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energy deployment or any other applicable funding to minimize
the cost recovery impact on each subscriber.
Section 9. Interconnection standards for community solar
facilities.
(a) Applications.--Beginning on the effective date of this
subsection, an electric distribution company shall have the
following duties:
(1) Accept interconnection applications for community
solar facilities on a nondiscriminatory basis and study the
impact of interconnecting the facilities to the grid using
the current commission-approved interconnection rules and
tariffs and in accordance with best practices.
(2) Include, in an interconnection application for
community solar facilities, proof of site control A COMMUNITY
SOLAR FACILITY, PROOF OF SITE CONTROL BY THE COMMUNITY SOLAR
FACILITY for the purposes of the study under paragraph (1).
(b) Interconnection working group.--Within 90 days of the
effective date of this subsection, the commission shall
establish an interconnection working group between electric
distribution companies and stakeholders with oversight from
commission staff. The interconnection working group shall review
and recommend changes to 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 purposes of this act. The
interconnection working group shall submit a report to the
commission of the recommended changes within 270 days of the
effective date of this subsection. Based on the recommended
changes in the report, the commission shall adopt the changes in
the State jurisdictional interconnection rules as the commission
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deems necessary or appropriate.
(c) Administrative fees.--The commission may impose an
administrative fee on an initial interconnection application for
community solar facilities under subsection (a). The commission
may impose a fee equivalent to up to 5% of the electric
distribution company's initial interconnection application fee.
The commission may use fees collected under this subsection for
the administrative costs directly associated with this act.
Section 10. Unsubscribed energy.
An electric distribution company shall purchase bill credits
UNSUBSCRIBED ENERGY from a community solar facility at the
electric distribution company's wholesale energy cost as
approved DETERMINED by the commission. To offset real or
perceived costs, an electric distribution company shall sell
unsubscribed energy to PJM Interconnection, L.L.C., regional
transmission organization (PJM) or its successor service
territory markets or otherwise decrease energy purchases.
Section 11. Customer participation in community solar programs.
(a) Participation in programs.--No later than one year after
the effective date of this subsection, the commission shall
promulgate THE COMMISSION SHALL PROMULGATE PERMANENT regulations
to enable participation in community solar programs by each
customer class and economic group IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAWS OF
THIS COMMONWEALTH.
(b) Temporary regulations.--In order to facilitate the
prompt implementation of this section, the commission and
department may promulgate temporary regulations. The temporary
regulations shall expire no later than two years following the
date of publication of the temporary regulations FOLLOWING THE
DATE OF PUBLICATION OF THE PERMANENT REGULATIONS UNDER
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SUBSECTION (A) in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. The temporary
regulations shall not be subject to any of the following:
(1) Section 612 of the act of April 9, 1929 (P.L.177,
No.175), known as The Administrative Code of 1929.
(2) Sections 201, 202, 203, 204 and 205 of the act of
July 31, 1968 (P.L.769, No.240), referred to as the
Commonwealth Documents Law.
(3) Sections 204(b) and 301(10) of the act of October
15, 1980 (P.L.950, No.164), known as the Commonwealth
Attorneys Act.
(4) The act of June 25, 1982 (P.L.633, No.181), known as
the Regulatory Review Act.
(c) Expiration.--The authority of the commission and
department to promulgate temporary regulations under subsection
(b) shall expire six months after the effective date of this
subsection. Regulations promulgated by the commission and
department after six months from the effective date of this
subsection shall be promulgated as provided by law. SHALL NOT
EXPIRE UNTIL THE COMMISSION PROMULGATES THE PERMANENT
REGULATIONS UNDER SUBSECTION (A).
(d) Contents.--The temporary regulations under subsection
(b) shall meet all of the following criteria:
(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
residential and small commercial customer classes.
(3) Establish a registration process for community solar
organizations.
(4) Address the reasonable enforcement of minimum
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subscription requirements for a community solar facility.
(e) Low-income customers.--The commission, in collaboration
with the Office of Consumer Advocate, electric distribution
companies, community solar organizations and low-income
stakeholders, may promulgate regulations adopting mechanisms to
increase participation by low-income customers in community
solar programs. The commission shall increase participation by
low-income customers in community solar programs in a manner
that allows the commission to use available Federal funds to do
all of the following:
(1) Deliver larger guaranteed savings to income
qualified households than those households that would receive
guaranteed savings without the Federal funds.
(2) Maximize State energy assistance programs.
Section 12. Location of multiple community solar facilities.
The commission shall promulgate regulations establishing
limitations on the location of multiple community solar
facilities in close proximity. The regulations shall meet all of
the following criteria:
(1) Prohibit an entity or affiliated entity under common
control from developing, owning or operating more than one
community solar facility on the same parcel or contiguous
parcels of land.
(2) Authorize a brownfield or rooftop community solar
facility to be sited on contiguous parcels if the total
brownfield or rooftop community solar facility capacity on
all contiguous parcels does not exceed the limits established
by the commission.
Section 13. Decommissioning, recycling and photovoltaic panel
removal requirements.
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A subscriber organization shall have the duty of
decommissioning a community solar facility, including the
removal, potential reuse and recycling of panels and the
remediation of the site at the end of the useful life of the
facility, and to file a decommissioning plan with the county
recorder of deeds.
Section 14 13. Prevailing wage for construction of community
solar facilities.
(a) Prevailing wage.--A community solar facility for which a
bill credit is sought and awarded to a subscriber under this act
shall be deemed to meet each of the minimum requirements
necessary to apply the wage and benefit rates and related
certification of payroll records required under the
Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage Act. A community solar organization
and each of the organization's agents, contractors and
subcontractors shall comply with the Pennsylvania Prevailing
Wage Act as attested under section 5 for work undertaken at the
community solar facility in which a bill credit for a subscriber
is sought and awarded.
(b) Violations.--The Department of Labor and Industry shall
enforce this section and apply the same administration and
enforcement applicable under the requirements of the
Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage Act to ensure compliance. In
addition to enforcement authorized under the Pennsylvania
Prevailing Wage Act, if the Department of Labor and Industry
determines that the community solar organization intentionally
failed to pay prevailing wage rates or benefit rates in
violation of section 11(h) of the Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage
Act for work specified under subsection (a), the community solar
organization or the organization's agents, contractors and
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subcontractors shall pay a fine equivalent to 10% of the value
of the bill credit multiplied by the estimated 25-year
production of the community solar facility.
SECTION 14. CONSTRUCTION.
NOTHING IN THIS ACT SHALL BE CONSTRUED TO PERMIT RECOVERY OF
DIRECT OR INDIRECT COSTS RELATED TO COMMUNITY SOLAR FACILITIES
FROM RATEPAYERS OF AN ELECTRIC DISTRIBUTION COMPANY THAT ARE NOT
SUBSCRIBERS. THE COMMISSION SHALL MAXIMIZE BENEFITS AND MINIMIZE
COSTS TO ALL RATE CLASSES, REGARDLESS OF PARTICIPATION IN A
COMMUNITY SOLAR PROGRAM.
Section 15. Effective date.
This act shall take effect in 60 days.
Section 1. Title 27 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated
Statutes is amended by adding chapters to read:
CHAPTER 43
DECOMMISSIONING OF SOLAR ENERGY FACILITIES
Sec.
4301. Definitions.
4302. Requirements for solar energy facility agreements.
4303. Financial assurance requirements.
4304. Financial assurance forms and decommissioning plans.
4305. Preemption of local ordinances and regulations .
4306. Applicability of chapter.
§ 4301. 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:
"Banking institution." As defined in 7 Pa.C.S. § 6102
(relating to definitions).
"Commencement of construction." The moment when a grantee
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issues a full notice to proceed order to the construction
contractor.
"Decommissioning plan." A document detailing the steps that
will be taken to decommission a solar energy facility and the
amount, form and timing of financial assurance that will be
provided by a grantee.
"Department." The Department of Environmental Protection of
the Commonwealth.
"Grantee." The owner of a solar energy facility on leased
property.
"Letter of credit." As defined in 13 Pa.C.S. § 5102
(relating to definitions).
"Nameplate capacity." The maximum rated output of a
generator, prime mover or other electric power production
equipment under the specific conditions designated by the
manufacturer.
"Normal agricultural operation." As defined in section 2 of
the act of June 10, 1982 (P.L.454, No.133), referred to as the
Right-to-Farm Law.
"Professional engineer." As defined in section 2 of the act
of May 23, 1945 (P.L.913, No.367), known as the Engineer, Land
Surveyor and Geologist Registration Law.
"Solar energy facility." The development or construction of
a facility that utilizes solar energy to produce or distribute
energy.
"Solar energy facility agreement." A lease agreement between
a grantee and a surface property owner that authorizes the
grantee to operate a solar energy facility on leased property.
"USDA-NRCS." The United States Department of Agriculture-
Natural Resources Conservation Service.
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§ 4302. Requirements for solar energy facility agreements.
(a) Requirements and prohibitions.--
(1) Except as provided under subsection (b), a solar
energy facility agreement executed on or after the effective
date of this paragraph shall provide that a grantee is
responsible for decommissioning the grantee's solar energy
facility on the surface property owner's property in
accordance with this chapter no later than 18 months after
the facility has ceased producing electricity.
(2) The decommissioning plan and associated financial
assurance may not be separated from the solar energy facility
through a change in grantee ownership to a new grantee. The
new grantee shall submit proof of financial assurance in
accordance with section 4303 (relating to financial assurance
requirements). The prior grantee may not release or revoke
the prior grantee's financial assurance until:
(i) the new grantee's proof of financial assurance
is filed with the county recorder of deeds; and
(ii) notice is provided to the surface property
owner party to the solar energy facility agreement.
(b) Exception.--Subsection (a) shall not apply to a grantee
who is actively working to recommence production of electricity,
including an instance following the occurrence of a force
majeure or similar event.
§ 4303. Financial assurance requirements.
(a) Plan, proof and notice .--A grantee who executes a solar
energy facility agreement on or after the effective date of this
subsection shall provide a decommissioning plan , submit proof of
financial assurance from a banking institution or a Federal
credit union as defined in 17 Pa.C.S. § 103 (relating to
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definitions) to the county recorder of deeds and provide notice
to the surface property owner party to the solar energy facility
agreement . The financial assurance shall conform to the
requirements under this chapter to secure the performance of the
grantee's obligation to decommission the grantee's solar energy
facility. If the grantee does not fulfill its obligation to
decommission the solar energy facility, the financial assurance
shall be made payable to the surface property owner.
(b) Amount.--The amount of financial assurance shall be
equal to the cost of decommissioning the solar energy facility
in accordance with section 4304(b) (relating to financial
assurance forms and decommissioning plans) and shall be
calculated and updated every five years by a third-party
professional engineer retained by the grantee from a list of
professional engineers compiled by the department and published
on the department's publicly accessible Internet website.
(c) Delivery.--A grantee shall deliver a decommissioning
plan and proof of financial assurance to the county recorder of
deeds in accordance with the following:
(1) No later than 30 days before the commencement of
construction of the solar energy facility, the grantee shall
provide the decommissioning plan and proof of financial
assurance to the county recorder of deeds in an amount equal
to 10% of the total cost of decommissioning as determined by
a third-party professional engineer.
(2) On or before the fifth anniversary of the
commencement of construction of the solar energy facility,
the grantee shall provide an updated decommissioning plan and
proof of financial assurance to the county recorder of deeds
in an amount equal to 10% of the total cost of
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decommissioning as determined by a third-party professional
engineer.
(3) On or before the 10th anniversary of the
commencement of construction of the solar energy facility,
the grantee shall provide an updated decommissioning plan and
proof of financial assurance to the county recorder of deeds
in an amount equal to 25% of the total cost of
decommissioning as determined by a third-party professional
engineer.
(4) On or before the 15th anniversary of the
commencement of construction of the solar energy facility,
the grantee shall provide an updated decommissioning plan and
proof of financial assurance to the county recorder of deeds
in an amount of 40% of the total cost of decommissioning as
determined by a third-party professional engineer.
(5) On or before the 20th anniversary of the
commencement of construction of the solar energy facility,
the grantee shall provide an updated decommissioning plan and
proof of financial assurance to the county recorder of deeds
in an amount equal to 60% of the total cost of
decommissioning as determined by a third-party professional
engineer.
(6) On or before the 25th anniversary of the
commencement of construction of the solar energy facility,
the grantee shall provide an updated decommissioning plan and
proof of financial assurance to the recorder of deeds in an
amount equal to 70% of the total cost of decommissioning as
determined by a third-party professional engineer.
(7) Upon an assignment of lease rights and obligations
to a new grantee.
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(d) Financial assurance methods.--Acceptable methods of
financial assurance shall include a bond , an escrow account or
an irrevocable letter of credit from a banking institution in
accordance with subsection (a). The irrevocable letter of credit
may be terminated at the end of a solar energy facility
agreement only upon 90 days' prior written notice by the banking
institution to the grantee and surface property owner.
§ 4304. Financial assurance forms and decommissioning plans.
(a) Forms.--
(1) Within 180 days of the effective date of this
paragraph, the department shall, by regulation and in
consultation with the solar energy facility industry, develop
a provisional standard form for a decommissioning plan and
financial assurance to be filed with the county recorder of
deeds in accordance with this chapter. In order to facilitate
the prompt implementation of this chapter, regulations
promulgated to develop a provisional standard form under this
paragraph shall be deemed temporary regulations. Temporary
regulations promulgated under this paragraph shall not be
subject to any of the following:
(i) Section 612 of the act of April 9, 1929
(P.L.177, No.175), known as The Administrative Code of
1929.
(ii) Sections 201, 202, 203, 204 and 205 of the act
of July 31, 1968 (P.L.769, No.240), referred to as the
Commonwealth Documents Law.
(iii) Sections 204(b) and 301(10) of the act of
October 15, 1980 (P.L.950, No.164), known as the
Commonwealth Attorneys Act.
(iv) The act of June 25, 1982 (P.L.633, No.181),
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known as the Regulatory Review Act .
(2) After the promulgation of the temporary regulations
under paragraph (1), the department shall, by regulation and
in consultation with the solar energy facility industry,
develop a final standard form for a decommissioning plan and
financial assurance to be filed with the county recorder of
deeds in accordance with this chapter. The temporary
regulations under paragraph (1) shall expire upon the
promulgation of the final regulations under this paragraph or
two years after the effective date of this paragraph,
whichever is later.
(b) Contents.--The provisional standard form and final
standard form under subsection (a) shall include all of the
following provisions:
(1) Unless the surface property owner and grantee
mutually agree in writing on a solar condition for restoring
the property, the grantee's decommissioning plan shall
provide for all of the following:
(i) The removal of non-utility-owned equipment,
conduits, structures, fencing and foundations to a depth
of no less than three feet below grade. The grantee shall
not be required to remove equipment and materials that
the public utility requires to remain onsite.
(ii) The removal of graveled areas and access roads
unless the surface property owner requests in writing for
graveled areas and access roads to stay in place.
(iii) The restoration of the property to a condition
reasonably similar to the property's condition before the
commencement of construction, including the replacement
of topsoil removed or eroded on previously productive
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