Time to lobby for Community Solar

We’ve learned that PA Senator Mario Scavello (R-Monroe) has crafted a memo about bringing Community Solar to Pennsylvania.

Days later, PA Representatives Aaron Kaufer (R-Luzerne), Donna Bullock (D-Philadelphia), Peter Schweyer (D-Lehigh) and David Millard (R-Columbia) have proposed a similar memo for the house.

So what is community solar?

With community solar, you can subscribe to a portion of an offsite [not on your own roof] solar project and receive credit on your electricity bill for the power produced, just as if the panels were on your roof. Think of it like community supported agriculture (CSA) for your electricity needs! The farmers get a committed customer base, and can plan their investments for the coming years.

Many of us can’t invest in solar on our own roofs, for a number of reasons. It could be that we’re renters, live in an high-rise condo, or have a shaded or otherwise inappropriate roof for solar. Or, it could be that we’re  not sure how long we may stay in our current home.

image credit: Sierra Club | atlantic2.sierraclub.org/content/community-solar

Community solar gives citizens and businesses the choice to participate—there is no mandate for participation or request for state funding. By passing this legislation, Pennsylvania would join 18 other states in giving its residents and businesses the opportunity to acquire solar energy from a community solar project.

Community Solar simply removes an existing policy and market barrier, allowing for much greater participation in electricity by solar for individuals, business and farmers.

How can you support Community Solar?

Write, call or tweet  your PA State Senator & Rep, asking them to support Senator Scavello & Representative Bullock’s initiatives to bring Community Solar to PA.

Don’t know your legislators in Harrisburg? Find them here.

Ask your state Senator to support SB1039

Live in a condo, townhouse, or just a house with a home-owners association? And getting resistance when you’ve tried to install rooftop solar?

Senate Bill 1039, sponsored by Senator Andy Dinniman, could remove obstacles to residential rights to solar energy, and make it easier for more of us to invest in rooftop solar.

This bill has 3 other co-sponsors by now: Senator John YudichakJohn C. Rafferty, Jr.Senator Tina Tartaglione, and has been referred to the Urban Affairs & Housing Committee on 2/9/18. 

We need to make it easier for people to invest in renewable energy. A resident of Newtown who would like to install rooftop panels faces opposition from her home-owners association. Her Senator Chuck McIlhinney supports SB 1039 as well.

Please ask your state Senator to co-sponsor SB 1039.

Not sure who’s your state Senator? Type in your address here and find out! Then make sure to ask them to co-sponsor SB 1039.

call to action: close the borders to all out-of-state solar

We have spoken to many of you about the necessity of closing the borders of PA to improve the market for SRECs.  Last fall, a bill was recently approved to do just that, but if the PUC does not interpret the bill as it was intended, pricing will never go anywhere. Please read the below and sign on to one of the linked petitions or write your own letter.  It is imperative that we speak in volume and in one voice.

Image credit: metasensemarketing.com

Tell the PUC to get the solar border law right.

In an unusual show of bipartisan support for clean energy, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed Act 40 in October 2017. The intent of the law was to “close” the solar renewable energy credit (SREC) “border” by permitting only in-state solar systems to qualify for Pennsylvania’s SRECs. Previously, the state’s “open borders” practice allowed systems in 12 other states (and D.C.) to receive our credit. This resulted in an oversupply of SRECs, a loss of investment in Pennsylvania’s solar market, and to other states getting solar jobs that should have been created here.

The Pennsylvania Utility Commission (PUC) must now implement Act 40. Unfortunately, in December the PUC took a stunningly bad first step with a tentative implementation order that relies on a flawed legal interpretation of Act 40.  Under the PUC’s interpretation, all existing out-of-state solar systems would be grandfathered and could continue to receive Pennsylvania’s SRECs. This legal interpretation is completely counter to the intent of the law and would make Act 40 utterly useless.

PUC Chairman Brown and Vice Chairman Place issued their own interpretation of Act 40 that does accurately interpret the law as it was intended. [Read the Post-Gazette article that nicely details the differences.]

As a Pennsylvania solar owner you know how the value of the SREC has dropped dramatically. Virtually, the only chance in raising the value of the SREC in the near term is to enact the bill correctly to no longer permit out of state systems. Of course, there is no absolute guarantee that the price will go up with or without the bill. We now have until February 6 to submit public comments to the Commission. Here’s how you can do that:

Add your name below

1) Add your name to this sign-on letter to join solar owners across the state to tell the PUC to accurately interpret and implement the law as the General Assembly intended. [PREFERRED METHOD] OR

2) Submit individual comments to the PUC electronically (first, set up an individual or corporate account, then log-in and upload your comment file here, docket # M-2017-2631527) OR by sending a letter addressed to: Secretary, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, Post Office Box 3265, Harrisburg, PA 17105-3265 referencing docket number M-2017-2631527.

Thank you! 

Be a great Solar Advocate

Have too much shade? Or don’t own your roof? Then you could be a great solar advocate.

image: Clean Energy Revolution Art Group

We need you to ask your state senator to support Senator Mario Scavello’s Senate Bill 404.

This bill would “close the borders” on PA’s solar renewable energy credit purchases; i.e. our utilities would need to purchase required solar-generated electricity from in-state projects, instead of the current procurement from Virginia & North Carolina.

Several of our area Senators (Art Haywood, Stewart Greenleaf, Vincent Hughes and Sharif Street) are co-sponsors. Please thank them, and ask them to push on this bill.

We’ve heard from the industry that this will be a game-changer for solar in our region.