Legislation would expand solar power access

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Legislation recently introduced in the state Senate would expand solar power access through a local voluntary program.

Senate Bill 919 would create the PA Local Solar program and would give residential and business customers the option to participate in off-site solar programs. The programs would not mandate participation or require state funding.

The bill allows electric utilities to establish subscriber programs. These programs would give customers the option of purchasing 100 percent local solar energy instead of energy from the traditional grid.

State Sens. Dan Laughlin (R-Erie) and Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) introduced the bill.

“The number of customers who would like to purchase solar energy is on the rise,” Laughlin said. “However, those who live in apartment buildings or in a location that is not conducive to solar energy production are currently unable to participate in Pennsylvania’s growing solar economy. There are also many others who wish to participate, but lack the financial resources required for rooftop solar installations.”

“Our bill provides customers with the opportunity to purchase solar energy from local solar projects,” Costa said. “By providing all customers with the opportunity to choose solar power, we expand the reach of renewable energy into our communities, while creating jobs right here in Pennsylvania.”