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Pennsylvania DEP Looking To Boost Solar Energy Production With New Project

The Pennsylvania Department of Energy's new solar energy project aims to boost the state's current share by 20 times in the next 13 years.

State officials want to grow Pennsylvania’s solar energy production by 20 times by 2030.

The goal of the Finding Pennsylvania’s Solar Future project is to grow the state’s current share of less than a half-of-a-percent to 10 percent in the next 13 years – or about 12 gigawatts of electricity.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection launched the 30-month planning project.

The first step included gathering 100 solar energy stakeholders to create working groups. DEP Office of Pollution Prevention and Energy Assistance program manager Dave Althoff said the group consisted of the best minds in solar energy the state has to offer.

“We want to make sure that we cover Pennsylvania and that all opinions are considered,” DEP Office of Pollution Prevention and Energy Assistance program manager Dave Althoff said.

The expectation is for the stakeholders to draft a plan by the middle of next year and send it out for public comment, as well as review by solar energy researchers.

From there, the group would build a market transformation strategy that would better outline how to reach that 10 percent goal, which could include changes in regulations, business process or education and outreach, Althoff said.

“What do we need to do to bring that plan to life?” he said.

Neither the report, nor any suggestions on how to implement it will be binding on the state, but the group is expected to issue progress reports six months and one year after the final report is released.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in 2015, renewable energy accounted for 4 percent of Pennsylvania's net electricity generation.

(Photo via Alan Levine/Flickr)