Pennsylvania Revives Solar Initiatives to Boost Clean Energy Jobs

November 29, 2017

Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf touted the commonwealth’s commitment to the advancement of solar energy and clean energy job creation by emphasizing the importance of two​ recent announcements and two ongoing initiatives that will help ensure Pennsylvania remains at the forefront in competing for good paying clean energy jobs.

“We all have long known that the future of our country and our commonwealth’s energy economy will include a robust renewable energy sector,” said Governor Wolf. “In Pennsylvania, we are making sure that the benefits of increased renewable jobs, a cleaner environment, and a growing renewable economy will be felt in the commonwealth and that the environmental benefits of solar generation which are being paid for by Pennsylvania consumers and businesses are experienced here as well.”

Earlier this month the governor announced that the state’s Solar Energy Program will make available $30 million in new grant funding to be used by eligible applicants to promote the installation of new solar projects and the manufacture or assembly of solar equipment in the commonwealth, another move which will encourage the deployment and creation of solar jobs.

For solar equipment manufacturing projects, the program will offer up to $40,000 in loans or $5,000 in grants for every new job created within three years. For new solar panel installations, the Solar Energy Program will offer loans up to $5 million or $3 per watt, and grants up to $1 million or $1.50 per watt.

Additionally this month the governor signed legislation which will strengthen Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act by requiring that solar renewable energy credits used to demonstrate compliance with the Act must be generated at solar facilities delivering electricity to the grid here in the commonwealth.

Prior to the change, Pennsylvania was one of the few states that allowed out-of-state transactions of solar renewable energy credits, which resulted in a huge supply of credits being available, in return diminishing the value of Pennsylvania’s credits. This fix will help to ensure that the environmental benefits of new solar installations are experienced here in Pennsylvania, and that we build a more competitive energy economy in the state.

These recent moves reinforce the work the administration is already doing to expand the use of solar energy and other renewables in Pennsylvania including the development of strategies to cost effectively increase the amount of solar electricity generated in Pennsylvania to 10 percent by 2030 through the “Finding Pennsylvania’s Solar Future” project led at the Department of Environmental Protection.

Additional efforts include the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ (DCNR) deployment of small scale solar arrays to take certain buildings and facilities on state park and forest lands off the grid, saving money and reducing DCNR’s carbon footprint. By the end of 2018, DCNR’s more than 18 solar installations should:

  • Save more than $65,000/year on electric;
  • Reduce CO₂ emissions by 350 tons/700,000 lbs. per year (average car emits 6 tons/12,000 lbs. per year); and
  • Reduce energy consumption by up to 600,000 kWh/year (average American home uses 10,812 kWh per year).
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