Spectacular growth creates jobs, businesses, but legislative action needed to continue that trend
Harrisburg, PA (September 5, 2011) – Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture) announced today that solar power has reached a new historic level in Pennsylvania. PJM’s Generation Attribute Tracking System (GATS), the organization that tracks renewable energy generation in the region, recorded the milestone as Pennsylvania reached 100 megawatts (MW) of installed solar capacity. The solar energy from these systems is producing enough pollution-free electricity to power over 12,600 homes each year.
“This is an incredible success story, said Jan Jarrett,” PennFuture’s president and CEO. “In just four years, solar has grown from 3 MW to 100 MW and has helped to create as many as 6,700 jobs and more than 600 solar businesses.
“While this is a tremendous accomplishment, the faster-than-projected growth of the solar market is crashing the market for solar renewable energy credits (SRECs). Low SREC prices are making it more difficult to finance solar projects, putting the industry at risk.
“To continue the growth in solar and protect the thousands of Pennsylvanians now working the solar industry, the Pennsylvania legislature should pass the Solar Jobs Bill (House Bill 1580) this fall.
“Right now there is more than enough solar in Pennsylvania to meet our Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act goals for 2013, and we are close to reaching the 2014 goals,” said Jarrett. “We must continue this growth, and protect our solar economy. The Solar Jobs Bill, being introduced by Representative Chris Ross (R-Chester), will update the AEPS to better reflect today’s solar market by increasing the solar goals for the next three years. This is a small fix that simply alters the way the solar share ramps up over time to create more demand right now.
“Without this adjustment to the ramp up, the solar market will grind to a halt for up to four years, forcing companies to leave for neighboring states where the regulatory environment for solar is more stable.
“We must find a way to keep our success flourishing and keep Pennsylvania jobs,” said Jarrett.
PennFuture is a statewide public interest membership organization, founded in 1998. PennFuture's activities include litigating cases before regulatory bodies and in local, state and federal courts, advocating and advancing legislative action on a state and federal level, public education and assisting citizens in public advocacy.
Working from the premise that “Every environmental victory grows the economy,” PennFuture has successfully advocated for landmark environmental legislation, including passage of the largest-ever environmental funding bond, public investment in green energy and energy savings programs, passage of the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act, adoption of the Clean Vehicles Program and adoption of a regulation that protects Pennsylvania’s babies by restricting mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants. PennFuture has staff throughout the state, in Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Wilkes-Barre. The Philadelphia Inquirer called PennFuture the “state’s leading environmental advocacy organization,” and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette named the organization one of the ten “most influential groups on the issue of natural gas drilling.”
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