UPDATE: The Community Solar bill in Pennsylvania has been postponed for the time being. While we cannot say for certain, the delay may be due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic and the increasing economic uncertainty. We will keep updating as we find out more.
New Community Solar Act promises extra income to landowners who install solar.
Landowners will be happy to hear about Pennsylvania’s upcoming House bill 531, which is coming up for review in Spring 2020. It was introduced last year in an amendment of the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPS) Act and will act as an accelerant on the number of community solar projects in the state of Pennsylvania.
That’s exciting for landowners because if the bill passes, more landowners will see lease offers from solar developers and the promise of long-term, stable income from solar projects. In a few years, that boost in development will ripple down to communities, who will see an increase in their energy options through solar alternatives to natural gas and other energy sources.
What is Community Solar?
Community solar refers to solar projects installed on land in a remote location that feeds energy into the grid. Businesses or households can then sign up for the community solar farm and receive credits on their monthly bills for their portion of the clean energy. Their bill credits can result in a discount of up to 10% each month.
In short, HB531 is going to transform the future of solar in Pennsylvania by accelerating solar project development in the U.S., and landowners will be some of the first to benefit from it. Some of the other positive impacts for the community include:
- Lowered energy costs through bill credits for businesses and consumers
- Increased lease income to farmers and landowners
- Expanded solar project development
- More local job opportunities
- Expanded access to energy choice
- Boost in the local economy
Landowners Generating Income with Solar
Leasing land to install solar can be beneficial to landowners in Pennsylvania in many ways; but ultimately, the primary benefit is the additional stream of income landowners can receive for up to 25 years. Any land that is going unused and is no longer profitable for farming can instead be used to install solar and generate income. This income can greatly improve their quality of life on the farm by helping with day-to-day expenses. For some this extra income is a chance to invest in the future of their children or grandchildren through college funds or leads to early retirement.
Solar Developers Show Interest in Pennsylvania
With HB531 providing the infrastructure to develop solar in Pennsylvania, an increased number of solar developers will shift focus to the state. Paired with the fact that prices of solar have been steadily decreasing and the number of developers has multiplied in recent years, landowners with suitable land should see more offers from solar developers to lease. The domino effect will see more energy choice for a larger number of communities in Pennsylvania.