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[ Does Solar Program’s Sundown Cast Shadow on PA Renewables? ]

A program introduced five years ago to fund solar programs in Pennsylvania is now out of money, but advocates say that hasn’t plunged the industry into darkness across the state.

The Pennsylvania Sunshine Solar Program zeroed out at the end of 2013 after providing more than $100 million in rebates to help fund solar electric and solar hot water projects for homeowners and small businesses.

Ron Celentano, president of the Pennsylvania Solar Energy Industries Association, says the state has plenty of what it takes to warrant solar energy investments.

“Germany has, by far, more solar than any other country in the world, and they have as much sunshine as southern Alaska,” he points out. “So we obviously have way more sunshine than southern Alaska, so that’s why it works so well here.”

Celentano says the credit price for selling solar renewable energy credits had dropped sharply in recent years, before an upswing in recent months.

Utilities face a solar energy mandate each year, but legislation to boost solar percentages in Pennsylvania has failed.

Celentano says current law allows solar operations in a dozen other states to sell their solar energy in Pennsylvania, which hinders efforts within the state.

He says he also hopes to see changes in the solar project permitting process, which currently is decided by individual municipalities.

“So that municipalities are more open with a standardized process for permitting, for having a system installed, and removing a lot of barriers,” he explains.

Celentano says an educational component is also a key part of informing consumers and clearing up myths surrounding solar safety issues.

Source:  Keystone State News Connection

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