Pennsylvania has made a strong commitment to renewable energy. Since 2004, the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority has devoted approximately $10 million a year to clean energy projects, which include solar energy projects. Additionally, Pennsylvania ranked 14th in the U.S. for installed solar capacity. People looking to make a difference and perhaps save some cash in the long-run should explore solar panels in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania’s Solar
Report Card

Grade
Methodology

To determine a grade for each state, our researchers and solar experts analyzed data on crucial solar-advancement criteria from the following sources:

We determined a rank from 1 to 10 for each state in each category. We then combined the scores with the following weights and assigned an overall grade for each state. Our goal is to encourage those considering solar for their homes to get a basic understanding of solar potential in their areas and discover the best opportunities for clean energy available.

Incentives & Rebates, 40%

Electricity Rate, 15%

Renewable Energy Policy, 30%

Interconnection Ease, 5%

Photovoltaic Potential, 10%

Electricity Costs in Pennsylvania

The cost of electricity in Pennsylvania averages $0.10/kWh. Although that figure is just slightly higher than the national average, it is considerable jump from the state’s 2005 average of $0.08/kWh. Currently, most of the electricity in the Keystone State comes from coal and natural gas, but increasing utility prices combined with Pennsylvania’s push for more clean energy may make solar energy more attractive to homeowners.

Cost of Residential Electricity

Data from U.S. Energy Information Administration
*as of Q3 2015

Pennsylvania Solar
Resources Library

Key Initiatives & Policies

The Pennsylvania Sunshine Solar Program was discontinued at the end of 2013 after providing $100 million in solar rebates, and Pennsylvania’s budget is still uncertain. However, Pennsylvania residents still have opportunities to save on solar energy. Additionally, the price of installing solar photovoltaic systems has continued to drop in Pennsylvania, adding to potential savings.

REBATES/INCENTIVES

Solar Alternative Energy Credits:

According to Pennsylvania law, all electric distribution companies as well as electric generation suppliers must supply about 18 percent of their electricity using renewable energy resources and get some of their sales of electricity from solar PV systems by 2021. Related to this, one solar alternative energy credit means that a MWh of electricity was produced by a PV facility in the state. Incentives for solar energy producers vary based on the market, although the market price in 2015 for Pennsylvania-sourced solar renewable energy certificates (equivalent to a solar alternative energy credit) ranged from $32 to $55/MWh.

High Performance Building Incentives Program:

Pennsylvania law supports renewable energy technologies, including solar PV systems. Incentives, including loan guarantees, loans, and grants, are available to small businesses in the state (those with no more than 100 employees) as well as individuals for constructing commercial buildings or homes. Residential loans/loan guarantees have a maximum of $100,000; commercial loans/loan guarantees have a maximum of $2 million; and for grants, the maximum is 10 percent of the cost of the project or $500,000, whichever is lower.

None for residential specifically

None for commercial specifically

POLICIES

Interconnection Standards:

There are four levels of interconnection in Pennsylvania that allow solar PV systems to be connected to the electricity grid. Level 1 is for systems that are 10 kW in capacity and lower; Level 2 is for 2 MW-capacity systems; Level 3 is for up to 5 MW in capacity; and Level 4 is for systems that do not qualify for the other three levels. The application fee is $350 along with $2/kW of nameplate capacity.

Net Metering:

Based on Pennsylvania law, net metering must be provided to residential customers who produce energy using solar PV systems. The maximum capacity for residential systems is 50 kW; for commercial systems, it is 3 MW; and the maximum is 5 MW for emergency and micro-grid systems.

Public Benefits Programs:

The five chief distribution utilities in the state of Pennsylvania created Sustainable Energy Funds to promote the development of solar energy and other types of renewable energy. These funds vary in amount, although the collective revenue of the funds through 2014 totaled about $99 million. Right now, the funds are moving toward an investment fund and revolving loan model to sustain the capital.

None for residential specifically

None for commercial specifically

TAX CREDITS

None

None for residential specifically

None for commercial specifically

TAX EXEMPTIONS

None

None for residential specifically

None for commercial specifically

Solar Panel Installers & Contractors in Pennsylvania

For Pennsylvania homeowners interested in solar panel installation, opportunities abound. With more than 470 businesses in the Pennsylvania solar industry, it’s important to vet your options before choosing a company. Interview contractors to determine how long they have been in the solar industry—the more experience the better—and find out the scope of their prior projects. It’s also helpful to inquire as to how they will handle billing with your current utility.

Here is a list of Pennsylvania solar companies to get you started.

Belmont Solar

Belmont Solar specializes in the design and installation of off-grid, hybrid and grid-tied solar energy systems.

Where it operatesGordonville, PA

Year of opening2001

Daflure Heating & Cooling

Daflure offers solar system installation for residential and commercial buildings.

Where it operatesNew Cumberland, PA

Year of opening1979

Energy Professionals Insulation, LLC

Energy Professionals Insulation sells and installs a variety of residential solar energy options, from PVs to passive space heaters.

Where it operatesLock Haven, PA

Year of opening1980

Exact Solar

Solar electricity, solar water heating and solar pool heating system installations services are all available to Exact Solar customers.

Where it operatesYardley, PA

Year of opening2005

Granahan Electrical Contractors, Inc.

Granahan helps its customers switch to solar energy by designing and installing solar PV systems, discussing available incentives and securing necessary permits and paperwork.

Where it operatesPhiladelphia, PA

Year of opening1985

Pagoda Electrical, Inc

This Pennsylvania electric company can install solar panels on commercial buildings.

Where it operatesReading and Harrisburg, PA

Year of opening1995

RER Energy Group

RER specializes in renewable energy technology, including installation of solar energy, solar hot air and solar hot water systems.

Where it operatesReading, PA

Year of opening2009

Solar States

With a mission to install solar as well as educate about clean energy, Solar States has completed more than 200 projects and impacted more than 1,000 students in area schools.

Where it operatesPhiladelphia, PA, as well as NJ and NY

Year of opening2008

SunLion Energy Systems, Inc.

SunLion Energy Systems specializes in solar panel installation in central Pennsylvania.

Where it operatesLancaster, PA

Year of opening1993

Additional Resources

The following resources will help you research solar energy options in Pennsylvania.

DSIRE Incentives Database – Pennsylvania

Discover the details of solar policies and solar energy incentives in Pennsylvania and across the country.

Mid-Atlantic Solar Energy Society

This chapter of the nonprofit American Solar Energy Society works to educate residents in the Mid-Atlantic region about renewable energy.

Office of Pollution Prevention and Energy Assistance

Find information about energy programs, cost-saving strategies and statistics related to renewable energy in Pennsylvania from this state government office.

Pennsylvania General Assembly

Keep updated on pending solar energy legislation, and stay abreast of current legislative issues in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission

Learn about pending solar energy legislation from the governing body in charge of Pennsylvania’s public utility regulation.

U.S. Energy Information Administration – Pennsylvania State Profile

Explore U.S. government data and statistics surrounding solar energy in Pennsylvania.