Pennsylvania Program Helps Businesses Go Solar

By Katie Herrmann

A Pennsylvania environmental program has opened another round of applications to help Pennsylvania businesses move toward a more sustainable form of energy. The Pennsylvania Solar Center is a nonprofit organization founded in 2019 and is a project of the fiscal sponsor The New Sun Rising, a Pittsburgh-based charitable organization. The PA Solar Project is also backed by the Hillman Foundation and the West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund.

The goal of the organization is to guide Pennsylvania businesses and nonprofits through the process of planning and achieving solar power. The center’s mission is to provide unbiased information and education about solar energy, assist tax-exempt organizations and small businesses to go solar, and actively work to educate decision-makers and advocates about the importance of enacting robust solar policies.

To accomplish this, the PA Solar Center has instituted a program called the Galvanizing our Energy Transition (GET) Solar program. This program, which has already gone through three rounds of applications, completes a preliminary assessment of a business’s solar potential, helps them understand financing options available to them, and links them with qualified solar developers for their projects. 

The program was launched along with the extension of the federal solar investment tax credit of 26% through 2023. This tax credit, along with accelerated depreciation, is projected to save businesses about 50% of the costs associated with implementing solar capabilities, which serves as an incentive to invest in this renewable energy opportunity. Further, building owners in Pennsylvania have to ability to use Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE), to finance building infrastructure improvements that includes solar power equipment without funds coming out of pocket.

According to the PA Solar Center, Pennsylvania was once a leader of solar energy in the country but has since fallen drastically behind other states. To demonstrate, in 2010 the state was ranked as one of the top five leading states in solar energy but has since dropped to 22nd in the country. The center cites Pennsylvania’s inability to keep its policies as updated and focused on achieving clean energy as neighboring states have.

The applications for the fourth round of this program are open until March 1, and businesses of all sizes are encouraged to apply.  This program is a hopeful step for Pennsylvania and for a brighter future with renewable energy. 

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