– As lawmakers continue to search for solutions on best energy practices, House Consumer Affairs Committee Chairman Jim Marshall (R-Beaver/Butler), minority chairman Rep. Rob Matzie (D-Allegheny/Beaver) and Rep. Chris Quinn (R-Delaware) led a public hearing today on solar energy and its impacts in Pennsylvania from an economic, business and community perspective.
“With solar energy rising in popularity for customers, it is critical to hear how it could benefit the Commonwealth,” Marshall said. “Our goal is to gather as much information on technology and energy in order to provide our consumers with reliable energy and reliable information for them to make an informed energy choice.”
Held at the Penn State Brandywine Campus, here are the testifiers who participated today and provided valuable input:
Scott Elias, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
Mark Haas, PECO Energy Company.
Kathleen Robertson, Sol Systems.
Katie Rever, IGS Energy.
Joel Harrington, Enel North America.
Brent Alderfer, Community Energy.
Leslie Elder, Coalition for Community Solar Access.
Tim Mills, Program Manager, Renewable Energy Division, ARM Group (Renewable Works for PA).
According to data from SEIA, more than 786 megawatts of solar energy have been installed in homes across Pennsylvania, which has the Commonwealth sitting 22nd in the nation. The testimony indicates there is enough power installed to power nearly 97,000 homes in Pennsylvania.
“I’m on record in favor of an all-in energy portfolio for Pennsylvania,” said Matzie. “That includes renewables like solar. This is a great opportunity for members to get information on where we are and what is needed to get to that diverse and, in my judgment, necessary energy mix.”
The percentage of the Commonwealth’s electricity from solar is less than 1%, as evidenced by the Energy Information Administration, despite a 43% price decline over the last five years.
Data from the 2020 National Solar Jobs Census shows there were 4,310 solar jobs in Pennsylvania, ranking 17th in the nation. According to SEIA’s National Solar Database, there are 426 solar companies operating in Pennsylvania, with a high concentration in southeastern Pennsylvania. SEIA projects there will be a growth of approximately 1,305 megawatts over the next five years, which would put Pennsylvania 28th in that category.
“Solar energy is now an affordable alternative for many,” Quinn said. “The industry will see significant growth in the coming years providing good-paying, family-sustaining jobs, lower energy costs and greater energy independence. I’m grateful to Chairman Marshall and the Consumer Affairs Committee for holding today’s hearing, and I’m hopeful Pennsylvania can seize the opportunity to become a leader in this burgeoning industry.”
“I would like to thank the testifiers for participating in this critical discussion,” Marshall said. “I would also like to thank chairman Matzie and Rep. Quinn, along with my colleagues, for participating. I am grateful for the staff at Penn State Brandywine who helped make this forum possible.”
Committee hearings allow legislators to gather information about proposed policy changes, identify strengths and areas for improvement, and propose alterative solutions to improve the initial proposal.
Representative Jim Marshall
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Nate Temple