Peacock Tales • Spring 2021

Peacock Keller in Action

 

Although COVID-19 interrupted much of life as we know it throughout this past year, Peacock Keller attorneys remained busy during and beyond the temporary closure of our physical offices, delivering important information to assist our clients in addressing the legal and business implications of the pandemic.

On May 14, 2020, Douglas R. Nolin and Janine E. Smith presented a seminar entitled “Business Interruption Insurance and COVID-19” to members of the Washington County Bar Association.

On May 14, 2020, Rachel K. Lozosky presented a webinar for businesses through the Peters Township Chamber of Commerce, entitled “Navigating the Workplace in the Era of Coronavirus: Guidance for Safety and Legal Compliance.”

At the invitation of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA), Rachel K. Lozosky served throughout the months of May and June, 2020 on the special education subcommittee of Pennsylvania School Reopening Task Force.

Also, through PSBA, Rachel K. Lozosky co-presented a webinar on July 20, 2020 entitled “School’s In Session: A

New Learning Landscape,” addressing special education issues associated with reopening schools for the 2020-2021 school year.

 

Shining Light on Pennsylvania’s Proposed Community Solar Legislation

by Aaron W. Smith

Do you have 10 to 25 acres of farmland? Would you like to save money on your energy bills? Legislation currently moving through the Pennsylvania State House is expected to pass with overwhelming bipartisan support in 2021. The proposed legislation would allow you and your neighbors to utilize a Community Solar Program to receive credits on your energy bills for subscribing to receive electricity from a locally installed community solar installation.

Pennsylvania House Bill 531 and Senate Bill 705, respectively, modify current Pennsylvania law prohibiting the competition that community solar presents. The bills provide for the construction of community solar projects, through which private landowners, farms, and businesses are permitted to construct smaller scale community solar installations, typically covering 10 to 25 acres. These installations are comprised of solar panels that capture sunlight to produce Direct Current (“DC”) power, and inverters that transform DC into the more widely used Alternating Current (“AC”)

power, which is then fed into the power grid. Landowners who allow the construction of solar installations on their property will benefit from net acre leases based on the amount of property utilized. In addition, individuals, businesses, schools, and others can “subscribe” to receive energy from a specific solar panel installation. Every “subscriber” will then receive credits on their energy bill based on the amount of energy produced by the solar panels.

The passage of legislation allowing community solar projects will move Pennsylvania toward an even playing field with twenty other states that permit similar programs, including the border states of Ohio, New York, Maryland, New Jersey, and Delaware. A recent study by the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences’ Center for Economic and Community Development indicates that potential community solar projects across Pennsylvania could generate over $83 million in annual economic benefit and sustain 520 full time jobs, while also generating $574,260 in annual real estate tax revenue.

While there is significant potential for landowners to benefit by leasing their property for the construction of a community solar installation, there are also numerous risks and nuances that must be considered when negotiating leases.  Peacock Keller’s energy attorneys are prepared to advise and counsel you through the leasing process as well as work with local municipalities on any zoning and permitting issues that may arise.

 

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