Field of solar panels on a rooftop

CITY COUNCIL PASSES LEGISLATION CREATING A SOLAR INCENTIVE PROGRAM FOR THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA

In Blondell Reynolds Brown, Council News, News by PHL Council

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PHILADELPHIA (June 20, 2019) – Philadelphia City Council passed legislation introduced by Councilwoman Reynolds Brown (At-Large) that will launch a Solar Rebate Program for Philadelphia commercial and residential properties.

Councilwoman Reynolds Brown stated, “Philadelphia can now serve as an example for residents and local businesses transitioning to clean energy. This Solar Incentive Program puts us one step closer in combating the impact that climate change is having on our planet.”

The legislation will help residents of Philadelphia offset the expiration of the current federal solar tax credit program, which has been offsetting the cost of solar installations by 30% since 2006. This tax credit begins stepping down at the start of 2020 and expires for residential properties at the start of 2022. The Philadelphia Solar Incentive Program gives all property owners an additional incentive to install a solar photovoltaic system and would be in effect from January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2024. Any projects installed after July 1, 2019 will be eligible to apply for the incentive when the program opens at the start of 2020, making it possible for select projects contracted in 2019 to access both the 30% tax credit and the Solar Incentive Program. The proposed incentive is $0.10/watt for commercial projects and $0.20/watt for residential projects, meaning that a typical homeowner would receive an average rebate of $1,000 after installing solar on their home.

The bill allocates $500,000 for the Solar Incentive Program to be allocated on a first-come first-serve basis, with a potential prioritization of low-income households. The Office of Sustainability and the Philadelphia Energy Authority will work together to develop an application process to access the new Incentive.

Emily Schapira, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Energy Authority stated, “2019 is the year to go solar in Philly. The 30% federal tax credit starts stepping down next year and we need every incentive we can get to help Philadelphians go solar now. This Philly solar rebate demonstrates the City’s commitment to fighting climate change and creating living wage jobs, and we are grateful for Councilwoman Reynolds-Brown’s leadership.”

Micah Gold-Markel, Founder of Solar States said, “Policy in our neighboring states supports the solar industry, and they have many more solar jobs as a result. Simply put, the solar industry in Pennsylvania lacks that level of support from Harrisburg. The solar incentive authored by Councilwoman Reynolds Brown will push more projects through to the finish line in Philadelphia, and we expect to hire more Philadelphians as a result.”

Rooftop solar lets homeowners take control of utility costs and reduce their carbon footprint. Philadelphia has been in the national spotlight for solar growth since PEA launched Solarize Philly in 2017. This program, the largest single solar initiative in the country, has helped position Philadelphia as the fourth fastest-growing solar market. To date, 363 homeowners have signed solar contracts at a discount through Solarize Philly, and more than 5,200 households have signed up for a free solar assessment. Fifty-two jobs have been created with the three participating installers. Solar Installer is now listed by the Commonwealth as a High Priority Occupation for Philadelphia County, based on high employer demand.

Solarize Philly participants benefit from group discounts and consumer protections. PEA has reopened Solarize Philly for 2019, so that anyone who owns property in Philadelphia can have another chance to sign up to receive a free solar assessment of their home. PEA is accepting sign-ups now through September 30th at solarizephilly.org.

The Philadelphia Energy Authority administers Solarize Philly as part of City Council’s $1 billion Philadelphia Energy Campaign, which seeks to advance energy efficiency in buildings across the City, collect significant cost savings for property owners and taxpayers, help Philadelphia achieve its sustainability goals, and create 10,000 jobs over 10 years. PEA is an independent office created by City Council to further clean and affordable energy goals.

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Photo: Solarize Philly

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