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Report: Sun Not Setting on Solar in PA

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014   

PHILADELPHIA - The year 2013 was one of sizeble growth for solar power in Pennsylvania.

According to a new report from the group PennEnvironment, the state's solar capacity grew 16 percent last year, as the nation saw solar projects triple since 2011. PennEnvironment field director Adam Garber said states that are taking the most advantage of the sun as a power source have some things in common.

"The top 10 states - and sadly, Pennsylvania wasn't one of them - are using policies to make it easier for people to set solar up, to incentivize the building of solar facilities and all that, to drive solar forward in their states," he said.

Garber said solar took a big hit in Pennsylvania toward the end of the year when the state's Sunshine rebate program - stocked at one time with $100 million - ran out of money and shut down.

Already, Garber said, cities are taking solar matters into their own hands.

"Philadelphia has passed a resolution calling for 20,000 solar roofs in the city," he said, "and is now working forward on a set of policies to actually get us to those 20,000 solar roofs."

Garber said Pennsylvania's deep roots in the fossil-fuel industry have presented some obstacles to solar.

"Companies like the coal industry don't want to let go and aren't ready for the changing times - and using powerful lobbyists to prevent solar from moving forward," he said. "And so, we really need our elected officials to catch up on the policy end."

The number of solar-related jobs is growing across the nation, Garber said, including 2,900 in Pennsylvania last year.

The full report is online at pennenvironment.org.


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