Expanding Community Solar: Pennsylvania
By Jack Martell, Renewable Program Manager
The community solar model has been successful across many states looking to rapidly increase their local renewable energy presence. Unlike traditional approaches to solar development, community solar is best known for improving access to clean solar energy, reducing end user cost, increasing system resiliency, and injecting significant investment into local economies. While initially intended for those unable to access solar energy through traditional means, community solar has in many instances outperformed traditional Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) models and is a no cost route for commercial and residential entities to take. Participating customers realize reduced utility spend while supporting the growth of local solar projects.
While adopted in many markets, there are still numerous states that have not yet endorsed community solar. Most recently, Pennsylvania proposed a bill endorsing the benefits that this model can offer to the user base in the Keystone State. Senate Bill 472, proposed in March with bipartisan support, would expand net metering and open a community solar market, allowing projects up to 5MW to virtually subscribe two or more users to each project and allowing for the allocation of monetary credits to participating utility accounts. The program would benefit farmers, businesses, ratepayers, and municipalities throughout PA, and is projected to inject over $1 billion into the economy. This comes on the heels of Pennsylvania executing one of the largest commitments to renewable energy of any state government in the nation when Governor Wolf announced the state would be powering close to half of their government facilities with over 191MW of solar.
With a significant commercial, industrial, and municipal user base throughout the state, this program has the potential to rapidly expand clean energy access while lowering operating costs and supporting the local economy. PA has a number of shovel ready projects prepared to be built pending the legislative decision. A clear path forward is expected by the end of the initial 2021 legislative session, and Freedom Energy is keeping a close eye on the proceedings. Should this heavily supported initiative pass, Freedom Energy is prepared to assist PA energy users through the enrollment process. Our renewable energy team has assisted clients in multiple community solar markets and has a strong understanding of program logistics, contract negotiation, project viability, etc.
About Freedom Energy Logistics: Founded in 2006, Freedom Energy Logistics is a leading energy advisory. The private company offers comprehensive energy supply management and renewable energy solutions supporting energy goals and sustainability objectives for businesses and organizations throughout the U.S. Freedom’s team of energy experts has worked with and delivered energy saving, environmentally responsible solutions for some of the largest commercial and industrial companies, municipalities, universities, healthcare facilities, and businesses. With its headquarters located in Auburn, NH, Freedom Energy also has employees serving clients locally throughout the regions. Freedom Energy has been twice named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies in America; recognized as one of the Fastest-Growing Family Businesses in NH by Business New Hampshire Magazine. Stay Work Play’s Coolest Company for Young Professionals; and received multiple Business Excellence Awards from New Hampshire Business Review. For more information, visit www.felpower.com.