Pennsylvania business owners: Lease your space for solar and take advantage of available state policies and incentives (while they last)

Headshot photo of Dan Smith, DSD
By Dan Smith, Vice President Markets Team at DSD Renewables

If you own commercial property in Pennsylvania and haven’t taken advantage of your infrastructure for a rooftop, canopy, or ground mount solar lease, there’s never been a better time. Generating revenue while reducing your carbon footprint has become easier in recent years in the Keystone State, thanks to some advantageous renewable energy policies. With electricity prices in Pennsylvania above the national average, you can expect above-average energy savings when using solar panels, and with the additional solar incentives, you can boost your savings even more.

A pivotal Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision has given business owners the right to engage in and benefit from expanded access to net energy metering (NEM), regardless of the amount of your onsite power usage, which enables a broader universe of potential solar projects in Pennsylvania – especially for solar project hosts interested in leasing space on a rooftop or other available area.

Net energy metering in a nutshell

Net energy metering, or net metering (NEM), is a billing mechanism that allows businesses and homeowners to generate electricity through renewable energy sources, like solar panels, and export any excess energy back to the grid. In Pennsylvania, NEM regulations require utilities to credit businesses at the full retail rate for the excess electricity they produce, effectively spinning their electricity meters backward and creating a new revenue stream for businesses participating in the program.

 

Overview of renewable energy in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has been proactive in supporting renewable energy initiatives, including NEM, through favorable policy frameworks and incentives. The state’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS) Act requires a certain percentage of electricity sold in Pennsylvania to come from alternative energy sources, incentivizing businesses to adopt renewable energy systems.

Furthermore, Pennsylvania offers various financial incentives, such as grants, tax credits, Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) and rebates, to businesses that adopt renewable energy technologies. These incentives, coupled with the financial benefits of NEM, make Pennsylvania an attractive market for businesses seeking to capitalize on solar. But it’s not guaranteed forever.

In 2021, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in favor of net metering and now, Pennsylvania requires all investor-owned utilities to offer NEM regardless of the load generated onsite, which has opened the doors to more solar development.

Which sites can benefit from solar in PA?

For those who may be interested in working with DSD to host a solar project at your business, we look for a minimum of:

  • 100,000 square feet for rooftop solar projects
  • 10 acres for ground mount solar projects
  • 250 parking spaces for solar canopy projects

There is a 3MWac limit for commercial solar projects to participate in Pennsylvania’s NEM program.

The bottom line

Pennsylvania has a favorable net metering policy, which offers billing credits at the full retail rate for the excess solar energy you send back to the grid, in addition to many other incentives, such as grants, tax credits, Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) and rebates. You can also take advantage of the federal solar tax credit worth 30% of your total solar system cost and possibly more. If your organization has been thinking of adding solar to your property, now is a great time to take advantage of the incentives available in your state.

Why is it important to act now?

There is no official deadline to participate in the current net metering program. However, it’s worth noting that there are some movements in the legislature to change the policy and limit the size of net metered solar systems to the facility’s existing energy usage. Therefore, we encourage business owners interested in taking advantage of solar to act quickly and capture the most value for your project.

If you’re a commercial property owner in Pennsylvania and are ready to start generating income from your space but don’t know where to start, let us help you navigate the process. We offer lease payments with no cost and the security of having a long-term partner and operator like DSD Renewables.

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Take the first step.

Not sure how to get started? Our renewables experts are here to help. Reach out to us today.