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Community Solar: One way of caring for our common home

Deadly floodingworsening drought, record-breaking heat and increasing wildfires all point to the devastating consequences of climate change in the U.S. and around the world.  Last year's report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was described as "an atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership." Human-induced climate change is already creating weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe. 

Many of these changes are unprecedented, and some of the shifts are in motion now, while some - such as continued sea level rise – are already ‘irreversible’ for centuries to millennia ahead, the report warns.

As Christians, we are called to love our neighbor and care for our common home. We do that in our personal lives and in our life together by living simply and being good stewards of creation. We also do this by encouraging policies that support the common good.

House Bill 1842 enables community solar projects in Pennsylvania that would allow us to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions while helping to create a more resilient energy system.  Many congregations and other non-profits who cannot take advantage of tax breaks, or whose property is not well suited to onsite solar installation, have been frustrated in their attempts to be better stewards. Community solar allows businesses, farms and nonprofits such as churches and other community organizations to directly participate in and receive benefits from an offsite solar project connected to their local electric distribution company’s grid.
 
HB1842 passed the House with significant bipartisan support. It's time for the Senate to do the same. 

Join people of faith across Pennsylvania in encouraging lawmakers to support this bipartisan legislation.

Recipients

  • Your State Senator or Senators

Message

Dear [Decision Maker],



Community solar allows neighbors, businesses, farms and nonprofits such as churches and other community organizations to directly participate in and receive benefits from an offsite solar project connected to their local electric distribution company's grid.

Under current law, individuals who rent, have shaded roofs, live in multi-family buildings, or lack roof access, are unable to directly participate in Pennsylvania's growing solar economy. This bill simply removes existing policy red-tape to allow customers to participate in a community solar project. It's a simple fix that opens access to a new market sector in the energy industry, with the potential to spur almost $2 billion in economic investments, create thousands of jobs, and drive innovation, all without raising taxes.

Community solar offers many benefits for both participants and the Commonwealth, including economic development across the state through private investment and creation of local family-sustaining jobs throughout the solar supply chain. In fact, a Penn State University study recently estimated that enabling community solar would add 12,000 jobs and $1.8 billion in economic development. In addition, these projects:
+ Save consumers and businesses money on their electricity bills
+ Use private capital to provide critical upgrades to grid infrastructure
+ Provide stable sources of income to family farmers through land leases and cost savings from the ability to participate in this program
+ Reduce grid costs, benefitting all ratepayers by supplying extra energy to the grid during peak demand when prices are highest
+ Can be located almost anywhere - rooftops, parking lots, brownfields, reclaimed mining lands and small parcels of land. Small ground-mounted solar arrays can be developed using best practices to preserve the land for future generations and are often paired with native plants and pollinators
+ Are locally permitted and infuse municipalities with increased tax revenues

Community solar markets are established in at least 20 other states and the District of Columbia. Please add Pennsylvania to that list to enable communities such as mine to more easily invest in this technology in alignment with our values.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]
[Your Email]

Contact

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