Pennsylvania last week released a solar plan that aims for 10% solar generation by 2030, Kallanish Energy reports.
The plan, released by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection, identifies 15 cost-effective strategies that could boost solar power in the state.
The state will need to increase its solar power from the current level of less than 1% to 10% by 2030. For that to happen, the state will need to increase its 300 megawatts of solar power to 11,000 MW of solar by 2030.
The state is looking at no less than two scenarios to create grid-scale solar power.
Most of Pennsylvania’s current generation comes from nuclear power and natural gas with just 4% coming from renewables.
Pennsylvania could create more than 100,000 clean-energy jobs, decrease greenhouse gas emissions and improve public health through increased use of solar power, proponents said.
“States around us and across the country have recognized that increasing solar energy can be a real economic development driver, in addition to providing tremendous benefits to public health and in addressing climate change,” said Dep secretary Patrick McDonnell, in a statement.
“The plan demonstrates that we can pursue Pennsylvania’s solar future in a cost-effective manner that complements our position as an energy leader,” he said.
McDonnell unveiled “Pennsylvania’s Solar Future” at a public meeting at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. The report came after the state had reviewed 140 public comments from stakeholder after the state released a draft report last July.
The main finding from the study is that, while installation of rooftop and other distributed systems can continue at the current pace, grid-scale development will need to accelerate.
Seven strategies combine grid-scale and distributed solar energy systems. They include increasing the amount of electricity utilities are required by state law to get from solar from 0.5% to 4% to 8% and, as Governor Tom Wolf announced last year, requiring them to get this solar energy within Pennsylvania.
The project partners are now working on a detailed list of action items for stakeholders and solar industry advocates to begin making progress implementing these strategies.
The report notes rooftop solar is more expensive, that it would create more jobs and it would require less land.
Pennsylvania would need about `124 square miles of land to develop solar power, less than 0.75% of the state’s total land. The report suggests solar power could be located in landfills, abandoned mines and perennial habitats to minimize land waste
The solar project was funded by a $550,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.