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PUC seeks input on solar-incentive limits

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Solar panels at Masonic Villages' Elizabethtown campus.
Solar panels at Masonic Villages' Elizabethtown campus. - (Photo / )

Pennsylvania utility regulators are looking for feedback on rules that would restrict who can take advantage of state incentives for the solar industry.

The rules would carry out a law passed this past fall by state lawmakers and are being implemented by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

PUC commissioners last week approved a tentative implementation order that offers two approaches. 

At issue is what solar arrays can generate and sell credits that are sold to utility companies. The credits help make solar projects viable and allow utilities to meet state requirements for generating power from renewable sources. By 2021 solar must make up 0.5 percent of electricity supplied by Pennsylvania utilities.

The law was intended to block solar projects in other states from being able to sell credits in Pennsylvania. Utilities buy the credits to meet their solar obligations, but credit prices have plunged due to oversupply.

The PUC would grandfather out-of-state projects already certified to sell credits as of Oct. 30, 2017, the date the law was signed. Any projects certified afterward would not be able to sell credits unless they were located in Pennsylvania.

The PUC also is seeking comments on an alternative, more restrictive interpretation of the law. It would bar sales of credits by certified, out-of-state projects unless they had an existing contract to sell credits. Projects would remain certified until their contracts expired.

The implementation order will be published in a future issue of the Pennsylvania Bulletin. Interested parties will have 30 days from then to make comments.

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Write to the Editorial Department at editorial@cpbj.com

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