- Lower conventional electricity market prices due to reduced peak demand;
- Valuable price hedge from using a free, renewable fuel rather than variably-priced fossil fuels;
- Avoided costs of new transmission and distribution infrastructure to manage electricity delivery from centralized power plants;
- Reduced need to build, operate and maintain natural gas generating plants;
- Reduced outages due to a more reliable, distributed electric power system;
- Reduced future costs of mitigating the environmental impacts of coal, natural gas, nuclear, and other generation;
- Enhanced tax revenues associated with local job creation, which is higher for solar than conventional power generation.
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Thursday, October 4, 2012
One thing we are very excited about is that very soon MSEIA/PASEIA will be releasing a detailed report on the Benefits of Solar in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, by Richard Perez, Ben Norris and Tom Hoff - prepared by Clean Power Research. This study will be invaluable as we use it to educate legislators, public officials and the general public of the quantitative value of implementing solar PV technology, which results in a huge impact to rate payers and tax payers in both states.
Maureen Mulligan and Ron Celentano
Friday, June 22, 2012
HB1580 Status - Still At a Standstill........
Monday, May 14, 2012
Saturday, March 17, 2012
It’s been a little over two months since House Consumer Affairs Committee Chair Representative Robert Godshall (R-Montgomery) held a hearing on HB #1580. Since then, PASEIA and SEIA have been working with our chief sponsor, Representative Chris Ross (R-Chester) on a compromise amendment with the hopes of getting the bill voted on. First it has to go through Godshall’s Consumer Affairs Committee and ultimately be voted by the full House before it goes off to the Senate. At least, that’s the current plan. After two months of hard, hard work, we are beginning to see the fruits of our efforts but we are certainly not home yet. We have had a series of good meetings with the Chairman of the Public Utility Commission, Robert Powelson and several of the commissioners about the new compromise amendment. The amendment is the reason we are picking up a little momentum on the bill which until lately has been completely stalled. It is being seen favorably because it is addressing several of the concerns over the bill that we keep hearing over and over. The PUC chairman suggested another amendment but this time it is one I think we can (or should) all support. We are working to finalize that language and should have a final version later this week. The new amendment adds consumer protection language to the bill that would require solar developers to inform potential solar customers about the volatility of pricing SRECS. Since PASEIA’s code of conduct includes language about solar installers giving honest, accurate information on SREC pricing, this seems like a no-brainer.
Getting the PUC Chairman on board is a huge step forward for the industry and this wouldn’t have happened without the compromise that was crafted recently. We are also getting help for the Governor’s Energy staff. PASEIA completely understands that most of us would prefer to close the borders to out of state projects, but if we stayed with our original position, it was made crystal clear that the Governor would not sign the bill. Thanks very much to the solar folks for continuing to support PASEIA in this difficult negotiation. A legislative victory will help us work from a position of strength in other government arenas going forward .
We’ve also been working on the Senate side, meeting many of the senators and their staff, and getting them up to speed with Sen. Argall’s SB1350, as well as HB1580 – to date, we have 18 Senators in support of the bill. The main difference between Ross’ bill and Argall’s bill is the closing of the borders language – SB1350 still includes that language.
We are not asking members to take any particular action right now except if you haven’t paid your dues or followed through on your pledge to help us, it is vitally important you do so today. We need you to follow through on your commitments. We are asking others to do so. We are looking at a June horizon at this point and if we don’t succeed by the end of June, it is highly unlikely we will try again in the Fall. The legislature will be out most of April but we have the rest of March and the first week of April to continue to make progress before they break for the Primary. We are working both the House and Senate simultaneously right now but we’re not asking you to come out to Harrisburg at this point. We know your time is valuable so we are relying on our lobbyist and a few of the solar companies who have donated much time to this effort.
Our efforts don’t stop at the legislature or even the PUC. We are working with others including meeting with the PA Chamber of Commerce and the state Energy Association of PA who are long-time opponents of giving solar energy any “special treatment” (their language). We think we are making progress and should know more in the next few weeks. We are also hoping to re-energize the environmental community now that the Marcellus Shale impact fee has passed. We are beginning to talk to the unions. After all, jobs are involved and union members have also benefitted from solar.
As always, PASEIA needs your support in whatever way you can give it. If you can’t give time, give money. If you can’t give money, give of your time. There are always things to do to strengthen our position and our trade organizations. If you asked me a month ago if the bill would pass, I would have said the odds were getting slim, but this is a new day and things may be turning around. If they do, we’ll need your support. Hang in there. We are.
Please help us win this!! Contributions can be made on line at http://www.mseia.net
Maureen Mulligan and Ron Celentano
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Crunch time for HB 1580
By Andrew Kleeman
House Bill 1580 (Ross-R, Chester County) was finally heard in House Consumer Affair Committee (Chair: Godshall-R, Montgomery County) on January 11, 2012. A link to the complete audio transcript of the Hearing will be available soon at the PASEIA/MSEIA web site - http://www.mseia.net/. You can also request a written transcript from any of the three PASEIA board members listed at the bottom of this email update. This update contains the following sections:
Points of Opposition
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In the weeks leading up to the 3rd rescheduled Committee Hearing on 1-11-12, the Coal Lobby and the PA Chamber of Commerce chimed in as staunch opponents. The PA PUC also issued a split (3 to 2) opposition opinion. PECO and PPL also testified in opposition of the Bill. Chairman Godshall and most of the questioning Committee members were overtly more friendly to the opponent testimony. Conversely, all points of view were heard and the testimony from PASEIA and seven other heard proponents was compelling. We probably still have enough votes to pass this Bill, if we can get it out of Committee.
The political power of some of our opponents has diminished the inertia of the Bill. We have certainly lost some of the 111 co-sponsors and a few of the on-the-fence committee members. Rep. Ross and Sen. Argall remain committed to this Bill and it still has a real chance of passing, but we continue to face an uphill battle.
If this Bill fails, we (PASEIA) believe the PA solar industry is essentially dead until at least the summer of 2014. Currently, the state has 173 MW of systems which can trade SRECS (130 in state, 43 imported), against an RPS of only 44 MW. We are nearly 300% oversupplied at this time and the few PA SRECS that are trading are going for about $20 on the spot market.
Perhaps even more importantly, if our efforts fail, and the PA SREC market is truly collapsed, the event will send a cold chill through the finance community in all states where SRECs are an element of solar power system finance.
Points of Opposition:
The key points of opposition all revolve around this issues of (1) cost to ratepayers, (2) closing the borders, and (3) conceptual opposition to government subsidies for one specific form or energy.
With regard to the 1st point (cost to ratepayers), we had already demonstrated that the effective cost of the RPS acceleration was less than a penny per day to a typical PA rate payer. We have now taken it even further: Rep. Ross is about to introduce an amendment to the Bill that credits the later years of the RPS with approximately the same number of SRECs that are to be debited in the next few years. In other words, we are now proposing to simply “borrow” the SRECs now from future years.
With regard to point (2), legal counsel from one of our members submitted a strong legal opinion on why closing the borders is NOT a violation of the federal Commerce Clause. Finally, with regard to point (3), we have attempted to illustrate the folly of this point, in deference to the reality that every form of energy, including fossil fuels is heavily subsidized – our subsidy is just more transparent and more easily measured. Our coalition partner, PennFuture did a terrific analysis of energy subsidies in PA – see http://www.pennfuture.org/media_pfr_detail.aspx?MediaID=1379#top
The next development will be introduction of the Ross Amendment – jsut this morning we recieved a final draft of the Amendment, and it should be formally released imminently. The Consumer Affairs Committee will then (hopefully) schedule a vote among its members. The outcome of that vote will define the subsequent steps.
At PASEIA, we are at an essential stand-still due to funding limitations. We wisely invested just over $50,000 in 2010 to get us to where we are today – exclusive of the value of the hundreds of hours donated by a relatively small member group.
While most of our larger members have made contributions at or above the $2,500 level, and many smaller company members have made $100 to $1,000 contributions, many in the PA solar industry have made no contribution at all. Even a dozen PA systems owners have made $25 to $500 contributions. Have you done your part?
If we are to continue our lobby efforts, and succeed, we need you financial support now. Please do what you can now – timing is critical. It would be a disgrace to have gotten so close to saving the PA solar industry and PA SREC market to loose it all now. Contributions can be made on line at http://www.mseia.net/ (see “PA Donate” button top right of page), or by contacting any of the following Board members to request in invoice from which to pay:
Ron Celentano CelentanoR@aol.com
Andrew Kleeman firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Newman email@example.com
Ron, Mike, Andrew, and the entire PA Solar Industry