On Wednesday, 1/11/12, Pennsylvania House Bill (HB) 1580 sponsored by Rep. Chris Ross (R-Chester) was presented to the House Consumer Affairs Committee for debate. HB 1580 is a proposal to move forward the Pennsylvania SREC requirement to the current compliance requirement for 2015 without changing the overall number of SRECs required after 2015. This would alleviate the over-supply of SRECs and increase the value of Pennsylvania SRECs. While the hearing was a critical first step for HB 1580, followers of the Pennsylvania solar industry will have to wait on the Consumer Affairs Committee’s vote before the fate of the bill is known. Should the bill make it out of committee it will also need to pass the House and Senate where both the House and Senate have voiced initial majority support for bill.
During the hearing solar industry representatives and solar consumers testified in support of the bill while utility groups and the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business spoke against it. The PA Environment Digest put together a detailed account of the testimonies. Generally those in support of the bill argue: 1) that the bill is essential for maintaining highly skilled solar jobs in Pennsylvania; 2) doesn’t increase the overall requirement for SRECs; 3)merely accelerates the requirement and 4) brings Pennsylvania’s SREC market more in line with the design of other SREC markets by closing the market to out-of-state sited systems (currently PA accepts SRECs from anywhere in the PJM region i.e most states in the mid-Atlantic and some states in the Midwest). Utility companies that testified against the bill argue that it would place an undue burden on rate payers by forcing utilities to charge more for the electricity that they supply. According to the PA Environment Digest article, there was some disagreement over the actual cost of the bill to rate payers, but on the high side utilities estimate that it would be an increase of $120 million over four years to four million Pennsylvania rate payers, which equates to an increase of about $3.33 per year to each rate payer.
SRECTrade will continue to closely monitor the development of HB 1580. Stay tuned to our blog for updates.