Pennsylvania Independent’s Melissa Daniels writes that corporate welfare programs to benefit solar companies are on their way out in Pennsylvania, saving consumers more than $100 million. Two major state programs offering taxpayer subsidies for solar projects have expired:
Pennsylvania spent millions on pushing solar as the SREC [Solar Renewable Energy Credits] market developed. The $100 million Sunshine Solar Rebate Program offered rebates to consumers and small businesses who installed solar projects. The Commonwealth Financing Authority gave more than $57.6 million in grants and $7.3 million in loans for 79 solar-related projects; CFA no longer accepts applications for solar energy grants.
“Green” corporate welfare programs have been under fire for several years, most nobably following the fiasco when Solyndra, a company taking millions in federal loans, went bankrupt.
However, Pennsylvania continues to mandate that utilities get more electricity from specific alternative energy sources, including solar. These mandates drive up prices, and while celebrated for “creating green jobs,” actually destroy jobs and undermine economic growth.
Thankfully, legislation to escalate these mandates-which would cost consumers an estimated $139 million annually in higher electric prices-has stalled out, PA Indy reports. Testimony from the Pennsylvania Utility Commission sums up why Pennsylvania lawmakers are more hesitant to subsidize more Solyndras:
Robert Powelson, chairman of the Pennsylvania Utility Commission, testified his opposition before the House Consumer Affairs Committee in January.
“By advancing the current solar carve-out, which acts as a subsidy for the solar industry, HB 1580 would increase the price of solar renewable energy credits, therefore, increasing consumers’ bills,” Powelson wrote. “This is simple supply and demand economics.”