The Solar industry is growing at an unprecedented pace, come here to stay up to date on PA Solar industry news.
Extreme climate change in USA
A detailed report from the Washington Post finds that the United States is increasingly experiencing climate change impacts, and those impacts are not evenly spread. The three states that are warming the fastest are Alaska, Rhode Island and New Jersey.
PA Needs Carbon Market
A new analysis from NRDC finds that a combination of energy policies is needed to reduce carbon emissions, lower energy costs for customers, create local jobs and stabilize energy markets in Pennsylvania. These policies include a carbon cap and trade program, a Renewable Portfolio Standard goal of at least 30% renewable energy by 2030, including 10% solar, and higher goals in PA’s energy efficiency programs. No single policy is enough. There are no silver bullets. Complimentary policies are needed to achieve a transition to a clean energy future. More details are available here.
Renewables to Surpass Gas by 2035 in PA
According to the Pittsburgh City Paper, a new study by the Rocky Mountain Institute finds that as the price of wind and solar continue to fall, renewables will be less expensive than 90% of the natural gas plants in PA by 2035. These findings and other related studies raise increasing concern about “stranded costs” in the natural gas industry as pipelines and other expensive infrastructure continues to be built.
New video: Rise of Solar Power
This new video is a great summary of solar power today and where the industry is going. https://enviropolitics.com/the-rise-of-solar-power-growth-nobody-expected-and-where-its-likely-to-lead/?preview=true
PA 2019 Small Business Advantage Grants Open
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is now taking applications for Small Business Advantage Grants for businesses with fewer than 100 employees. Grants for 50% of materials are given for projects that increase energy efficiency or reduce emissions. New this year is the inclusion of solar thermal technologies. Solar PV is not eligible. For more information go to the Small Business Grant webpage. Do it today, as these grants always go fast.
PUC issues Analysis of Policy Options on Nukes
The Analysis of Pennsylvania Nuclear Plants and Available Policy Alternatives, by PUC Commissioner Andrew Place and staff finds that only one nuclear reactor in PA, TMI, is uneconomic. The Analysis lays out a detailed review of a number of policy options to begin to answer the question: What are the options for PA to replace the output of TMI with clean power? The report finds that the least expensive option is energy efficiency: “If energy efficiency goals were increased by 1% of statewide usage per year, the loss of the zero-carbon generation from TMI could be replaced in 5 years…. Energy efficiency has no net cost to consumers. Net positive benefits have been observed for every year during implementation of Act 129.” p. 12 The report also reviews expanding the AEPS Tier 1 resources of solar and wind, as well as several options to develop a carbon market in PA.
Low Income Solar Access Guide now available
Vote Solar and Grid Alternatives have just released a new guide that outlines some of the best policies and programs that can pave the pathway to an equitable clean energy future. https://www.lowincomesolar.org/
Governor Wolf Executive Order
Under the executive order signed by Governor Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania will work toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent by 2025, and 80 percent by 2050, compared to 2005 levels. PA will reconvene the GreenGov Council to develop a more specific climate action plan. The executive order spells out a number of steps to be taken to reduce carbon emissions from state buildings by 3% per year.
Community Solar Policy Guide
The Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA) released the 2019 Community Solar Policy Decision Matrix, designed to lead policymakers through important questions and answers associated with passing community solar legislation, developing new programs and expanding existing programs across the country. The policy guide provides a menu of options, focusing on areas that will spur market development while providing policymakers with options to customize community solar programs to meet each state’s unique energy needs and policy goals.
MAKING SOLAR AVAILABLE TO ALL PENNSYLVANIANS
There are countless benefits to solar energy. But for Pennsylvanians who rent or don’t live in sunny areas, the traditional panels-on-your-rooftop approach simply doesn’t work. The solution: Community solar. Community solar allows multiple customers to share power from a single solar array, helping ALL Pennsylvanians harness the benefits of solar energy.
BENEFITS OF COMMUNITY SOLAR
•Creates new economic development opportunities through job creation, tax potential, and local investment.
•Supports PA’s solar contractors and related businesses, currently the fastest growing energy sector in the state.
•Increases clean energy production, often during peak demand periods when electricity is most needed.
•Improves the reliability and resilience of the electric grid, helping reduce power outages.
• Allows people to pool resources to build projects, reducing overall project costs and contributing tolonger-term electric price stability.
• Offers renters and those who are unable to install solar energy on their own homes or businessesthe opportunity and choice to participate in Pennsylvania’sgrowing solar marketplace.
• Contributes to Pennsylvania’s goal of providing a cleaner,healthier and safer environment for all its residents.
• Can help low-to-moderate income residents and rentersto receive the benefits of clean energy systems.Current Pennsylvania law does not permit community solar, preventing more than half of Pennsylvania residents from benefiting from solar energy. Lack of suitable rooftop, lack of financing or inability to afford a full system are some of the reasons that may keep residents from accessing solar energy. Community solar would expand solar access and allow all Pennsylvanians the opportunity to subscribe to the energy from shared solar energy systems.
Community Solar Interactive Toolkit
The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) has a new interactive toolkit on Community Solar designed to help state and local governments implement this important policy successfully. Check it out!
Solar PV Systems: Best Practices for Local Government
The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission has developed a set of materials and resources to help local governments increase the use of solar photovoltaic energy in their municipalities. DVRPC may also have some technical assistance and training available for local governments.
FINDING PENNSYLVANIA'S SOLAR FUTURE
The goal of Finding Pennsylvania’s Solar Future is to create a shared vision statewide for the most effective ways Pennsylvania can reach its objective of 10% of in-state electricity sales generated by in-state solar energy.
Solar Job Growth Continues
Clean energy jobs increased 6% to more than 90,000+ in Pennsylvania in 2018, 5 times faster than statewide employment growth according to the 2019 jobs report from E2. The job growth continues to be distributed all across the state, in rural, suburban and urban areas. There are almost 5,000 solar jobs now in PA! There are twice as many jobs in clean energy as there are in fossil fuel in Pennsylvania. Unlike many jobs in the fossil fuel industry, clean energy jobs are local.
Final C-PACE Guidelines Issued
These PA C-PACE Program Guidelines can be used by local governments (counties) to adopt a C-PACE program in their jurisdiction. The Sustainable Energy Fund (SEF) and the Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance (KEEA) have met with several counties about C-PACE and will present at the County Commissioners Association of PA Spring Conference. The PA C-PACE Program Guidelines a key element of “C-PACE in a Box” which includes other legal documents and a county resolution. C-PACE in a Box is available to any local unit of government in Pennsylvania by simply contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
PA joins regional Transportation Climate Initiative
Governor Wolf joins eight other governors from Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, and the mayor of Washington, D.C., who have committed to developing a regional clean transportation system that will bring communities together, promote economic growth and create a sustainable world. This Transportation and Climate Initiative will develop a plan within the next 12 months to significantly lower carbon emissions from the region’s transportation sector. This will help accelerate the development of the electric vehicle infrastructure, improvements in rail and other public transportation, and other initiatives. The Georgetown Climate Center’s recent analysis examines the potential reductions that could be achieved by 2030.
High performing homes consistently bring a higher price at time of sale, and they hold their value. A recent study from the North Carolina Building Performance Association provides indepth research in multiple markets across the state.
Cost of Solar Drops! Now competitive w/gas & wind
According to the 2017 Lazard analysis, the cost of utility scale solar has continued to decline to the point that it is now competitive with natural gas and wind. Community Solar can take advantage of the utility scale.