As we approach the 2018 holiday season people slow down and look back at the events of the past 12 months. It’s also a perfect time to relax and look forward, thinking of ways to make things better and to begin planning for the next 12 months.
This year, solar energy in our state benefited from two key new rules that went into effect, one which requires utilities to meet their renewable energy quotas only by investing in facilities within the state or buying credits from other facilities and homeowners within Pennsylvania. The second important new rule allows businesses and commercial property owners to creatively finance their solar energy systems by paying the loans back through their annual property tax bill.
The net impact of these changes increases the overall value of solar energy in our state, and should hopefully facilitate Pennsylvania’s transition to a cleaner, more sustainable energy future.
Looking forward into 2019, fellow solar advocates hope to change state mandates to increase solar energy capacity to as high as 10% of the energy mix by 2030. Pennsylvania lags behind most of our neighboring states both in setting targets for statewide renewable energy capacity and for creating greater access to solar produced electricity for more families and businesses that cannot install solar panels.
Exact Solar and organizations we have joined are working to provide guidance to legislators and state agencies so this progress can be made quickly and effectively. The primary mechanism to brainstorm and to communicate ideas is the Pennsylvania Solar Future Plan, a joint effort of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and hundreds of individuals, businesses, and utility stakeholders. The plan offers alternatives to reach the 10% by 2030 goal and ways to facilitate more solar energy access for all.
In the true holiday spirit, this joint effort provides a great opportunity for citizens contribute to our community and improve our state’s environmental impact.
As of now, follow up stakeholder meetings are planned for November 2018 and March 2019, and we invite fellow Pennsylvanians who cannot actively participate to continue to follow our website to easily stay up to date and to find convenient ways to offer input and feedback.