While lawmakers deliberate over the fate of Pennsylvania’s solar industry, the state’s Public Utility Commission remains engaged in its own efforts to provide a stable foundation for solar energy growth.
Just last week, the Commission released a long awaited policy statement and voted 5-0 to establish long-term revenue stability for the development of both large and small-scale solar projects within the Commonwealth. Amid a dynamic and growing Mid-Atlantic solar market, Pennsylvania’s solar progress has been handicapped by issues of SREC price uncertainty, one of the primary sources of revenue for solar projects in the state. Aiming to make PA the regional solar powerhouse it should be, more than 20 parties submitted comments on the draft policy issued by the PUC in late 2009.
The full policy statement (all 47 pages) can be found here. For those who already have plenty of bedtime reading, highlights include:
Defines large and small-scale solar projects;
Recommends using competitive requests for proposals to establish SREC values recoverable as a reasonable expense;
Standardizes contracts for the purchase of SRECs by electric distribution companies;
Establishes a stakeholder working group of electric distribution companies, electric generation suppliers, Commission staff, public advocates, solar aggregators and other interested parties to ensure SREC contracts reflect the most recent developments in Pennsylvania law and energy policy; and
Encourages education of potential sellers of SRECs about the opportunity to sell these solar attributes to the electric utilities in support of regional development of solar resources.
With lawmakers considering amendments to PA’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards to triple the amount of solar generation developed within the state (voice your support here), any legislative action is likely to have significant ramifications for the PUC’s solar policy statement – especially in regards to the issues that the stakeholder working group will address.
Let’s just hope that the vision of Pennsylvania’s lawmakers and regulators is a shared one…
Vote Solar is a non-profit grassroots organization working to fight climate change and foster economic opportunity by bringing solar energy into the mainstream.