Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Grid-Scale Solar Siting Policy
A working group of Commonwealth Agencies, including the Departments of Agriculture, Community and Economic Development, Conservation and Natural Resources, Environmental Protection, and General Services developed a Grid-Scale Solar Siting Policy to provide guiding principles to stakeholders, including landowners, solar developers, and municipal governments, to consider when evaluating proposed grid-scale solar projects.
Grid-Scale Solar Siting Policy Statement
The Commonwealth supports the advancement of grid-scale solar energy as a pathway to increase Pennsylvania’s renewable energy production, create economic growth through job creation, and enable additional, long-term revenue opportunities for Pennsylvania farmers, landowners, and host municipalities while reducing emissions and working toward achieving climate goals.
The Commonwealth promotes sustainable solar development that includes strategies to minimize impacts to the natural environment, maintain production on prime agricultural lands, safeguard cultural and historical resources, and achieve net reduction in carbon emissions.
The Commonwealth recognizes that well-planned solar projects can serve as non-permanent land use that supports the preservation and conservation of family farms. Grid-scale solar also provides options for the reuse and redevelopment of previously impacted lands, including former mine lands.
The Commonwealth works with landowners, solar developers, and municipal governments using the following guiding principles to encourage the responsible siting of grid-scale solar installations.
- Prioritize reuse and repurposing of previously impacted lands to make these sites viable alternatives for hosting grid-scale solar development compared to greenfield areas such as agricultural and forested lands.
- Balance potential opportunities of grid-scale solar energy projects with priorities and benefits of agricultural preservation and sustainable forest management.
- Support project siting that elevates equitable sharing of environmental, health, social, and economic benefits while advancing the Commonwealth’s environmental and climate justice goals.
- Respect local decision making on the siting of projects within parameters established in existing and informed community-based comprehensive planning efforts.
- Protect landowner interests and safeguard future land uses through informed project planning that includes project decommissioning plans to ensure site restoration following project closure.