States have typically established clean energy policies independent of federal policy as a means of addressing specific and unique energy needs. Most begin by setting minimum mandates, generally referred to as Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). Various grants, additional tax credits, tax exemptions, and clean energy pricing and reimbursement regulations provide additional growth incentives for each market.
To find out more about active policy that impacts your investment today, visit Calculating Solar Savings.
Quick Background on Pennsylvania Energy Policy
Beginning in 2004, the Pennsylvania legislature first implemented clean energy focused laws and regulations. The state’s version of an RPS, the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act (AEPS) set forth a low but workable requirement that utilities derive 10% of the energy supply from renewable sources (stated as alternative energy sources). The solar carve out was a very low 0.5%.
From 2009 to 2013, legislators recognized more was needed to assist the solar energy market. At that time, costs were higher than today. The Pennsylvania Sunshine Solar rebate program alleviated some of the up front expenses.
Net metering policy was launched in 2005 and remains a key part of the Pennsylvania solar incentives policy which is administered by each utility. For the eastern part of the state, the PECO Net Metering plan is the top utility plan.
Lately, there is a significantly greater interest from residents and elected officials to combat the ever more worrisome climate change. Renewable energy focused policies and executive actions are on the rise.
Solar Energy Related Policy
The state has focused mostly on building up solar energy and wind energy capacity. Due to historically low costs as well as almost no impact on wildlife and the environment, much of the most recent policy making activity has benefited the solar market. The following areas of policy making and local activism is driving solar energy growth in the state:
|Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs)||See our SREC page|
|Net Metering||customer-generated power credited at retail price|
|Federal Income Tax||26% – tax credit on full solar system price|
Renewable Energy Activity
In our commitment to advancing solar energy and sustainable living in our region, Exact Solar closely watches legislative activity. On this page we will share information we feel is important to our neighbors in Pennsylvania, and include call outs where your participation and voice will be helpful.
The Governor issued an Environmental Executive Action in January, 2019, which included sustainability goals, one of which is a renewable energy target of 40%. This proclamation is aimed and guiding legislators to define and enact corresponding policies, making it a valuable reference point for the future.
State legislators have reacted, first by introducing Senate Bill 600 to modernize the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS) for the first time since 2004. We recently reviewed this as we took a Quick Look at the State of Solar in 2019.
To learn more about S.B. 600 and to offer your comments, you may reach out to State Senator Jay Costa, one of the primary authors of the bill.
Local Push for Clean Energy
Pennsylvania clean energy policy has not kept pace with most of our neighboring states in the Northeast, making grassroots advocay and activity even more important. One result from this reality is the level of community engagement in the Sierra Club Ready for 100 program. Already, many towns and boroughs in the state have made the 100% renewable energy pledge, including Norristown and Whitemarsh in Montgomery County.
Nearby Bucks County communities like Doylestown, among others, are increasingly more active in the Sierra Club efforts.
Stay Current — Related Posts and News
Another way to stay up to date on some of the latest policy news and information is to review our related posts: