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Solar Energy Ordinance Development and Agrivoltaics

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To address climate change, the Biden-Harris Administration has set a goal to drive down emissions in the power sector and scale up the production of clean energy. Solar energy has a key role in this initiative.

Growing Plants, Power, and Partnerships 

Hundreds of utility-scale projects have been proposed collectively across the Commonwealth, and in almost every county in Pennsylvania. Local officials, including land management and legal professionals, will be at the forefront of the decision-making process for these projects, as solar permitting is typically done locally.

With solar commonly being sited on open land, preserving prime agricultural soils for ag production is a common concern expressed by local officials across the state. 

How Solar and Agriculture Can Work for Each Other

Agrivoltaics, defined as agricultural production—such as crop or livestock production or pollinator habitats—underneath solar panels or adjacent to solar panels, reduces these concerns by co-locating agriculture and solar and providing potential benefits to producers. 

Both solar developers and those in the local community who care for the land—whether as farmland, rangeland, or native habitats—can benefit from agrivoltaics. And when all sides understand how they can benefit each other, low-impact solar development becomes easier.

Agrivoltaics is a potential tool in the toolbox for meeting our climate goals.

Agrivoltaics can support the transition to renewable energy while minimizing the impact to agriculture and agricultural land.

This program examines:

  • Trends driving utility-scale solar development
  • How local decision making, specifically solar ordinances, can direct solar facility siting, and better reflect the wishes of community members, while allowing for greater collective adoption of renewable energy in PA. 
  • Key issues in development of a solar ordinance. 
  • Techniques and technologies associated with agrivoltaics

Co-sponsored with the PBA Environmental and Energy Law Section.

Recorded in March 2024.

Practice Areas


Daniel Dotterer American Solar Grazing Association
Greg Molter Montour County
Thomas B. Murphy, Solar Education Advisor PA State Association of Township Supervisors
Faculty may vary by location.
PBI reserves the right to substitute speakers at all programs.
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