It's not always Sunny in Philadelphia: The Problem with the Pennsylvania Solar Initiatives

Christina Alam

Abstract


For the past several years, the Obama administration has become increasingly vocal with regards to the need to prevent global warming and abandon fossil fuels in favor of clean energy.[1] And solar energy seems like the obvious first choice in furtherance of those goals. However, in the race for solar energy, state lawmakers should not sacrifice efficiency and welfare in favor of speedy results. Pennsylvania authorities made a mistake: by adopting one of the most aggressive solar initiatives in the country, they sacrificed hundreds of people who simply cannot afford solar technologies. Specifically, numerous reports and publications have suggested that Pennsylvania Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards, including its solar requirement, create cross subsidizing of the owners of solar panels at the expense of all other energy consumers, distorting the energy market and increasing instances of free-riding. The groups most affected are low-income populations. Pennsylvania can still, however, successfully pursue its solar initiatives subject to certain changes in its law and policy that address the negative effects of its current regime.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5195/tlp.2016.190

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