With lawmakers set to return to the capital in a few weeks, the House Consumer Affairs Committee held a hearing yesterday of testimony in favor of enabling community solar projects in Pennsylvania. The PA Community Solar Economic Alliance praised the committee’s attention to HB 1555 and emphasized the bill’s ability to generate a $1.8 billion boost to the Commonwealth’s economy and provide financial aid to farmers, landowners and consumers.
“This hearing demonstrated a strong bipartisan interest in taking action in the solar field,” said R-Delaware County Representative Chris Quinn, who serves as secretary of the Consumer Affairs Committee. “Community solar, in particular, presents an exciting opportunity to leverage private capital to modernize our power grid and bring cost savings to consumers and businesses.”
Community solar projects are local solar installations that residents and business owners can subscribe to and earn a credit on their electricity bill for their share of the power produced. The projects are small and often installed on underutilized plots of working farmland, providing a stable new source of income for farmers who have faced years of economic strife.
“Pennsylvania growers have been at the mercy of low commodity prices and difficult markets for years,” said Darrin Youker, director of state government affairs for the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, which is a member of the PA Community Solar Economic Alliance. “We are asking the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to support HB 1555 and move it quickly to create new opportunities for farmers to provide for their families and their local communities through new tax revenues.”
House Bill 1555 would allow more than 230 community solar projects in 48 Pennsylvania counties, including rural, suburban and urban areas. The projects are expected to save Pennsylvanians who subscribe more than $30 million annually.
HB 1555 also includes the first-ever current wage claim recorded in a Pennsylvania solar bill.
“Yesterday’s hearing was an important step toward passing a bill that would finally allow the residents of Pennsylvania to reap the economic benefits that solar energy can bring to the community and modernize the state’s electrical grid using solar energy. private investment,” said Leslie Elder, Mid-Atlantic Director for Coalition. for Community Solar Access. “There is a tidal wave of support for community solar. With legislation in both chambers, we look forward to bringing this critical economic development program to a successful conclusion, saving costs for consumers and creating income opportunities for farmers.”
News release from the PA Community Solar Economic Alliance