Sky Darkens for Solar Mandates

HB 1580, which we wrote about previously, would accelerate state mandates for utilities to use solar power as part of their electricity portfolio.

A new Energy Association of Pennsylvania report calculates increased energy costs of more than $139 million annually if HB 1580 becomes law. Studies of similar laws in other states indicate that these costs will be directly passed on to consumers via higher utility rates.

The House Consumer Affairs Committee is scheduled to vote on HB 1580 on December 8. Government mandates in the legislation unfairly transfer the investment risk of solar power facilities from private investors to us, the consumers.

That risk is real and the bill should be voted down.

Environmental advocacy group PennFuture recently distributed a talking points memo warning solar supporters to avoid mentioning the infamous $528 million Solyndra scandal. Solyndra is but one of many green energy investment failures. Brightsource Energy Inc., a solar manufacturer with political connections, was the recipient of another $1.4 billion bailout.

Why should Pennsylvania force investment in an industry whose failure rate is skyrocketing? Solar energy's viability should depend on its success in the marketplace, not on subsidies and mandates enacted by politicians and backed by taxpayers.