Pennsylvania has a long and proud tradition of producing copious amounts of energy, from early oil discoveries and rich coal deposits to modern solar energy production. When it comes to energy, this state has a way of getting things done. Thanks to supportive government policies, going solar in Pennsylvania is easier than ever.
SRECs and net metering in PA
Pennsylvania has two main programs to support the development of residential solar systems: net metering and solar renewable energy certificates.
Pennsylvania net metering
This is one of the most important policies for solar in Pennsylvania, as in many other states, because it governs how your residential system interacts with the grid. Net metering allows you to sell excess solar electricity back to the utility at the same price at which you would buy it. The ability to send electricity back to the grid is key, as it allows homeowners to “bank” their solar energy when production is up and use it when they need it later on.
Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs)
This program enables Pennsylvanians to sell the SRECs that their panels generate. As of early 2016, the going rate for these credits in PA was about $15 per megawatt hour (MWh). At this rate, a 5-kilowatt (kW) system that generates 5 MWh per year could make an extra $75 per year from selling credits in the SREC market. Utilities will purchase SRECs to meet Pennsylvania’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) goal of sourcing 18 percent of its electricity needs from renewable resources by 2020.
PA Loves the federal solar tax credit
The value of solar incentives in Pennsylvania is even greater when taking into account the recent extension of the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar. In addition to the state-specific incentives and programs mentioned above, you can reduce the cost of your solar panels system by 30 percent, thanks to this great government program. Remember, however, that the ITC applies only to those who buy their solar energy system with a cash purchase or a solar loan, and that you must have enough income for the tax credit to be relevant.