Support for Pennsylvania community solar bill grows

Thanks to the work of solar supporters like you, the community solar bill is advancing in Harrisburg! HB 531, an act that would enable community solar projects in Pennsylvania, has gained 13 new co-sponsors since it was introduced, bringing the bipartisan roster of co-sponsors up to 49!

This is in no small part due to the enthusiastic advocates who have reached out to their legislators about the bill by writing a postcard at the First Annual Pennsylvania Solar Congress, using our tool to contact your state representative, or visiting with legislators in person. Is your state representative listed as a co-sponsor at the top of the bill? If not, click the button at the bottom of this article to join the hundreds of Pennsylvanians who have already urged their Representative to support the bill!

Currently, Pennsylvanians who are unable to install solar on their own property are simply out of luck. But HB 531 would allow for the creation of community solar programs. Under such programs, individual ratepayers can subscribe to a share of a larger solar array located off-site. Then, the electricity produced by that share is credited to their electric bill, just like that amount of solar were installed on their roof, allowing them to enjoy the financial benefits and solar energy, even if they are a renter or have a home ill-suited for solar panels.

HB 531 would only allow community solar for customers of investor-owned utilities (IOUs). Rural electric co-ops or municipal utilities are not regulated by the state and thus are free to start their own community solar programs regardless of whether this legislation passes.

What’s next for this bill? HB 531 has been referred to the House Consumer Affairs Committee, chaired by Representative Brad Roae of Crawford and Erie Counties. Chairman Roae must schedule a hearing and a vote on the bill for it to advance to be considered by the full House.

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