Community solar power bills could be passed this session by the House and the Senate. But they will need your support.
House Bill 531 and Senate Bill 705, would enable anyone who pays an electric bill to participate in the benefits of solar energy without needing to install their own onsite system. Households, businesses, farmers, and non-profits would be able to purchase or subscribe to a share of a larger solar project and receive the credit on their utility bill. There are more than 200 projects ready to go up and online that will provide local jobs from GED to Ph.D., can conserve land and habitat and improve soils, income to local landowners and revenue for local governments and the carbon benefits to the atmosphere. Based on my experience working on Penn State's 70 MW solar project in Franklin County, I've seen firsthand how projects can create these multiple benefits.
If you're wondering about some numbers, The Clean Air Council has provided these:
3,159 sustained full-time jobs during construction in the first five years (a 75% increase).
$2.08B in local economic benefits with an additional $210 million in property tax revenues paid for by developers of community solar projects.
$1.06B in earnings for those employed during construction activities.
As I said, these bills have bipartisan support, but they need your will to make it over the finish line during a contentious political season.
Call Rep. Benninghoff to ask him to advance HB 531.
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