By Andrea Sears, Public News Service
For The Post Publications
HARRISBURG PA – Advocates say solar power use among individual, business, and community property owners in Pennsylvania is growing, despite the Trump administration’s withdrawal this year from the Paris climate agreement and its emphasis on reducing carbon emissions.
The state is creating incentives to encourage both commercial-scale solar installations, and smaller systems for home and business, according to Jason Grottini, director of design for Envinity, a clean energy company headquartered in State College. Local solar power installers located in Collegeville, Perkiomenville, Schwenksville, Pottstown, and Barto, say they are benefiting from new project sales.
One of the motivators? Solar power producers in the Commonwealth have a better chance of selling their surplus electricity to utility companies, Grottini said. The Legislature recently passed bills requiring “that all the renewable energy that our public utilities are required to generate must come from inside Pennsylvania.”
Those “very strong net metering laws … allows homeowners and businesses to sell their excess power back to the utility,” he added. Many home-based solar systems have boosted efficiency and reduced costs, so owners “can expect an 8- to 10-percent return on their investment, Grottini claimed.
Critics complain that growth in renewable energy depends on such incentives and other unaffordable government subsidies.
Avoiding the worst impacts of climate change will require an 80-percent reduction in current carbon emissions by 2050, some scientists estimate. Ed Perry, an aquatic biologist with the National Wildlife Federation, reports Pennsylvania is making progress in its participation toward that goal, and that growing renewable energy is an important part of the effort.
Forty-two mayors nationwide have adopted the goal of achieving 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2035.
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