Home Energy conservation DCNR Announces Guidance for Planners Seeking to Generate Clean Renewable Energy Through Grid-Scale Solar Installations

DCNR Announces Guidance for Planners Seeking to Generate Clean Renewable Energy Through Grid-Scale Solar Installations


Harrisburg, Pennsylvania — As interest in harnessing energy through solar power grows, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn today announced that the Department had developed guidelines for landowners, developers, planners and local officials considering building grid-scale solar installations.

A grid-scale solar installation is an installation that generates energy from the sun and feeds it into the electrical grid, supplying power to a utility.

“As Pennsylvania’s conservation leader and Commonwealth Natural Resources Administrator, DCNR has developed guidance for landowners, developers, planners and local officials for siting and construction of solar projects in the ‘network-wide,’ Dunn said. “The department supports the advancement of grid-scale solar energy that avoids or limits impacts on forests, wildlife, and water.”

Dunn added that renewable energy alternatives, such as solar power, help mitigate the impacts of climate change and reduce Commonwealth greenhouse gas emissions.

The announcement was made on the first day of the Sustainability Summit organized by the GreenGov Council.

The new resource, Conservation Considerations for Siting, Planning, and Maintaining Grid-Scale Solar Systems in Pennsylvania (PDF) includes a number of key resources for informed planning and decision-making.

The document’s recommendations present 10 considerations for implementing best practices and eight for sustainable design. They understand:

  • Prioritize the conservation and protection of mature forests, recreational lands, wildlife and plant habitats and vital ecosystems;
  • Prioritize implantation on already disturbed land;
  • Co-locate close to existing energy infrastructure;
  • Avoid and minimize erosion and sedimentation;
  • Actively protect and restore wildlife habitat to include and support native species; and
  • Include dismantling which restores the land to the same condition as before.

Grid-scale solar installations are not permitted on DCNR land, or land that has received DCNR grant funds.

The guidance document is intended to help landowners, municipal officials, developers, investors and planners make informed decisions about the location and development of grid-scale solar energy.

Using clean energy from the sun, the department deploys small-scale solar panels to take certain buildings and facilities off the grid, saving money and reducing DCNR’s carbon footprint.

In state parks and forests, there are currently 23 solar panel installations.

By 2030, DCNR will derive all of its electricity from renewable energies, around half of which will come from solar installations.

Learn more about the department’s sustainable practices on the DCNR website.

MEDIA CONTACT: Wesley Robinson, 717-877-6315

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