Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Solar Thermal Letter Opposing Hutchinson Amendment

June 21, 2010

As business leaders in the Pennsylvania Solar Thermal industry, we applaud the Pennsylvania legislature for including SRECs (Solar Renewable Energy Credits) for Solar Thermal in the PA House Bill 2405 for Clean Energy and Green Jobs and we want to express our support for passage of the original HB 2405 bill.

We also request that you vote NO to the Hutchinson Amendment that among other damaging languages, removes the value of Solar Thermal from the bill.

There are 174 solar thermal installers registered with DEP in Pennsylvania and we strongly support House bill 2405 which will help our businesses to grow and survive with good local jobs that can’t be shipped to other countries or to other states. Solar thermal systems cut fossil fuel use and are a hedge against volatile electric, gas and oil prices.

Several major solar collectors are currently made in the US although China holds 70% of the market share, Europe has 15%, and the U.S. has less than 1%. Furthermore, of the 29 states with Renewable Portfolio Standards, 12 include solar thermal in their portfolio in part due to the following reasons:

Reduce the costs rate-payers bear from the Renewable Portfolio Standard

1. Jobs. There are 129 solar thermal businesses registered in Pennsylvania - all of which will be directly impacted by this amendment. Furthermore, solar thermal installations are very labor intensive often requiring system engineers, panel installers, plumbers, welders and carpenters, and roofers; and many tradesman, such as plumbers, are adding solar thermal services as a means to increase revenue during these hard economic times.

2. Low Cost AEPS Compliance. Solar thermal provides a lower cost solution for achieving Pennsylvania AEPS solar carve-out requirement. Solar thermal is the most cost effective solar energy source and can reduce compliance cost.. Therefore, the dollar cost that Pennsylvania utilities need to pass along to consumers is lower meaning rates also will remain lower. While we do not advocate one technology over the other as a robust blend of solar technologies will make it plausible for Pennsylvania to achieve its solar goals.

3. Reduced Energy Costs. Solar thermal systems are a hedge against volatile electric, gas and oil prices potentially reducing 50% - 80% of water heating costs and this is a technology accessible to low income and low margin-business customers.

4. Greater constituent participation in the AEPS. Because solar thermal is such a cost effective solar technology, more Pennsylvania residents and businesses can actively participate in the AEPS. Adding solar thermal to a home may improve the home value should the home be sold. Once the solar system is paid for, there are no fuel costs, which means lower bills for consumers.

5. Environmental Benefits. RETScreen estimates that each 4 x 10 solar hot water heating panel installed can eliminate up to 2 tons of carbon dioxide each year. NREL (National Renewable Energy Labs) estimates that solar thermal can eliminate the equivalent of 50 – 75 million metric tons of CO2 emissions reductions nationwide annually.

6. Solar Thermal does not create any incremental cost for this bill and reduces the need for tax-payer funded incentives. This bill will help Pennsylvania’s solar thermal industry transition away from costly state funded programs to market based incentives. (

Sincerely from the following Solar Thermal installers in PA:

Jan Marie Rushforth
Partner, Rushforth Solar LLC - Member of PA SEIA -
3700 Darby Road, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010


Bob Elwell
Hickory Ridge Solar


Adam Rossi
Adam Solar Resources
1912 Mayview Road Bridgeville PA 15017
412-220-1900 Office
412-334-6519 Cell


Mike Healy

Skyline Innovations
2451 18th Street
Second Floor
Washington, DC 20009

Mark Bortman
Exact Solar -- Harness the Power of the Sun!

William H Fitch III
1072 Fowlersville Rd
Berwick, PA 18603

Karen Foltz
General Manager
Vox Energy Solutions
8890 Peebles Road
Allison Park, PA 15101
Phone - 412-366-4361
Fax - 412-366-4362


John Collins
Certified Energy Consultant
H.B. McClure
600 S. 17th St
Harrisburg, Pa 17104
Office (717)214-3169
Fax (717)2149218
Cell (717)554-2528


Bryan Elwell
Hickory Ridge
O: (610)-845-9360
C: (215)-519-2111

HB2405, if passed (minus the Hutchinson Amendment) will tremendously help solar hot water growth in PA, adding to local job creation, energy savings, and emission reductions. It makes sense on many levels. Please vote for it.

Alan Rushforth
Rushforth Solar LLC
3700 Darby Road
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

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