HARRISBURG – In addition to providing clean, renewable energy, solar panels could help save family farms in Pennsylvania. That was the main takeaway from a House Consumer Affairs Committee hearing convened today in Harrisburg by state Rep. Brad Roae (R-Crawford/Erie).
“We heard a lot today about how community solar projects could benefit Pennsylvania farms, our economy and our electric customers,” said Roae, who serves as chairman of the committee. “A lot of people could benefit – from new jobs, increased incomes and lower energy bills – if this policy proposal moves forward.”
Roae convened the hearing to gather testimony from experts related to House Bill 531
. The bill would enable community solar projects in Pennsylvania.
Community solar projects involve installing solar panels on multiple properties so the energy produced can be used by those residents and others on the electric grid.
Farmers could benefit from the increased revenue available through the installation of solar panels on their property. Famers could lease some of their unproductive land to developers who would install solar panels.
The legislation calls for a monthly credit on the bills of subscribers who participate in community solar projects.
Customers’ monthly electric bills contain service charges to pay for the wires and other infrastructure necessary to deliver the electricity to their homes. There also are charges for distribution and transmission to support and maintain the electric grid, including poles, lines and substations.
Watch the hearing online here
Roae and his colleagues on the committee heard testimony from Leslie Elder, Mid-Atlantic director with the Coalition for Community Solar Access; Chad Forcey, executive director of Pennsylvania Conservative Energy Forum; and Lauren Brunsdale, associate developer at Community Energy.
Lawmakers heard that large-scale solar initiatives – such as community solar projects that span multiple properties – are more cost effective than small-scale, single-household solar panel systems.
“This is a case where there is strength in numbers,” Roae said. “When people work together and pool their resources, they often can accomplish more together than they ever could while they were apart.”
Committee hearings enable legislators to gather information about proposed policy changes, identify strengths and areas for enhancement, and propose alterations to improve the initial proposal.
More information about Roae is available by visiting his website at RepRoae.com
and following him on Facebook at Facebook.com/RepRoae
Representative Brad Roae
Pennsylvania House of Representatives