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The Sun Is Rising on Solar Energy in Pennsylvania

May 12, 2017 03:30 PM

It seemingly started on the roofs of homes and businesses. In the 1980s, you may have noticed flat panels that looked like unwatchable new-age TV screens. They didn’t exactly catch on.

But now, you’re more likely to notice a field full of panels, tilted to catch the best rays of sun. They’re in a crowd, dozens or hundreds of these panels, on school grounds, next to businesses, in the middle of former farmfields. There, without noise or fanfare, or even emissions, is the dawn of Pennsylvania’s solar energy future.

We’re still catching our breath as we’ve grown into a natural gas powerhouse (number two in the country). But that doesn’t mean that Pennsylvania shouldn’t be just as eager to catch the rays of the most abundant renewable energy source there is -- the sun.

At DEP, we’re not just eager, we’re committed to boosting that energy capability. We intend to see solar move from its modest position in Pennsylvania, generating only .15 percent of the electricity consumed in the state. We’ve set an aspirational goal of having 10 percent of in-state electricity sales generated by in-state solar energy by 2030. 

How do we get there? Together. We’ve received funding from the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative to create a planning process we call Finding Pennsylvania’s Solar Future.

Estes Trucking Solar Array
You probably haven’t heard of it yet, but we hope you’ll soon see solar energy innovation everywhere -- in new solar manufacturing plants, creating new energy jobs in the state; in new rows of solar panel installations small and large; and in ways we haven’t yet imagined -- through new innovations, investments and incentives.

As Acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell recently said, “In the same way Pennsylvania is currently a leader in fossil fuel energy, we want to be a leader in solar.”

You can find out a lot more about Finding Pennsylvania’s Solar Future on our website and by contacting us at And plan to join our second project meeting, June 8, at Carnegie Mellon University. The agenda and registration will be on the Finding Pennsylvania’s Solar Future website soon.

We hope you’ll get involved, and help us all find Pennsylvania’s solar future.​

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