Renewable Portfolio Standards
One reason Pennsylvania is among the best states for renewable energy initiatives is strong Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). The standards mandate that Pennsylvania generate 18.02% of all its energy from renewable sources by 2021. Utilities will have to pay high fees if the standards are not met, so there is strong incentive in Pennsylvania for utilities to offer solar incentives.
Solar carve-outs are that portion of a state’s renewable energy that must come from solar by a certain deadline. The solar carve-out in Pennsylvania is 0.5% by 2021.
Electric rates in Pennsylvania put the state in 12th place for highest costs in the country. No wonder so many people there embrace renewable energy! High electric rates make an investment in solar energy more financially rewarding.
Strong net metering laws are an asset in Pennsylvania. Net metering is the plan by which solar panels or other renewable energy generators are connected to the public utility, allowing customers to offset the cost of the power they pull from the utility with credits they earn on their own energy production. If your solar system produces more power than you need, the excess energy is sold to the grid, which you see as a credit on your power bill.
Interconnection standards are requirements for connecting solar and other renewable power systems to the electric grid. The standards in Pennsylvania are statewide. They make installation easier and usually less expensive, and net metering is more reliable too.
Solar Power Rebates
Pennsylvania offers rebates for going solar.
Performance-Based Incentives (PBI)
Pennsylvania offers PBIs, which are incentives based on the power your system actually generates. They call them Solar Power Performance Payments. How it works is you get paid based on the actual kilowatt-hours (kWh) or BTUs generated by your system. The power produced is credited as Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs), the value of which fluctuates by the rule of supply and demand.
Federal Tax Credit
On top of these great Pennsylvania rebates and exemptions, you also qualify for the hefty tax credit from the Federal government. The Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is worth 26 percent of the system cost, and will be deducted from your Federal income tax. The credit goes to those who buy their renewable energy system (cash or loan), not to those who lease. When a system is leased, all incentives go to the third-party owner.