Finding Pennsylvania's Solar Future
Clean, renewable solar energy is vital to economic growth, environmental protection, and electrical grid resiliency in Pennsylvania. Although solar photovoltaic installations are increasing in the state, solar currently produces less than 1 percent of our net electricity generation. The Pennsylvania’s Solar Future Plan identifies tomorrow’s solar development and investment strategies. Finding Pennsylvania’s Solar Future was a 2017-2019 statewide planning project that was led by the DEP Energy Programs Office (EPO) to equip Pennsylvania to produce more solar energy by 2030. We were funded by a
$550,000 award from the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Program.
EPO identified an initial objective of increasing to 10% the amount of in-state electricity sales that come from in-state solar energy generation. The goal of Finding Pennsylvania’s Solar Future was to create a shared vision statewide for the most effective ways Pennsylvania can reach its objective of 10% of in-state electricity sales generated by in-state solar energy.
PA Solar Future
Project Participants Across the Commonwealth
Pennsylvanians with expertise in business, state and local government, the solar energy market, utilities, regional transmission, regulation, academia, environmental advocacy, and consumer advocacy participated in project working groups, sharing their different viewpoints on solar energy. Meetings were coordinated by PennFuture in partnership with EPO.
The working groups were engaged in a modeling process to envision and predict the outcomes of possible specific approaches to increasing deployment of solar energy systems and incentivizing market transformation in Pennsylvania.
The modeling process, which was led by the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, examined:
- Regulation – How can Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (based on Act 213 of 2004) be modified to support more forward-looking objectives than the current requirement that solar photovoltaic energy provide .5 percent of Pennsylvania’s net electricity generation by 2021?
- Operations and systems — How to integrate solar into the current grid cost-effectively.
- Market transformation via incentives and business models — This included provisions to ensure that low-income consumers and other traditionally underrepresented groups aren’t excluded from the benefits of solar.
- Pennsylvania’s Solar Future Plan
- Over 13 gigawatts of proposed solar as of 2020 within the PJM electrical development queue.
- Over 600 MW installed, supporting over 4000 jobs in the solar industry as of 2020.
- Many institutions and companies such as SEPTA, City of Philadelphia, and Penn State University using solar to reduce their carbon footprint by Power Purchase Agreements.
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Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office