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Rapp sponsors solar, wind tear-down bill

Rep. Kathy Rapp, R-Warren, speaks during a recent House Health Committee meeting.

Rep. Kathy Rapp, R-Warren, wants solar panels and wind turbines installed in Pennsylvania to be taken down responsibly.

House Bill 2104, which Rapp introduced recently in the state House of Representatives, would require companies installing alternative energy equipment be responsible to take the equipment down no later than 18 months after the facility has stopped producing electricity.

“With solar and wind farms continuing to permeate our landscape, we must assure that long-term sustainability and reclamation concerns are addressed before it is too late,” Rapp wrote in her legislative memorandum. “To do so, I have proposed a plan to assure these facilities are responsibly decommissioned.At this time an old solar panel or decommissioned turbine can be thrown into a landfill while the property leased to these endeavors is left in an unusable state. Landowners need assurance that their leased property will not be marred by the remnants of solar and wind farms 20 years from now, and we should assure that the materials used in these facilities are either reused, reclaimed, or recycled instead of filling landfills and languishing.”

Any alternative energy agreement will be required to include a decommissioning plan and proof of financing from a banking institution to pay to remove the solar panels or turbine. The plan would have to be updated on or before the fifth, 10th, 15th and 20th anniversasries of the green energy system’s construction with money held in escrow for the eventual decommissioning.

Rapp’s legislation also requires, before the 20th year the equipment is in use, for an updated decommissioning plan that shows how much material will be salvaged, recycled, refurbished or disposed of in a landfill, and no more than 20% of the equipment’s total mass will be accepted in a landfill as part of the plan.

There are 11 Republican co-sponsors for Rapp’s bill, which has been sent to the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee for consideration.

“Pennsylvania should strive for a clear and uniform regulatory policy for all industries, and thus statewide decommissioning guidelines will assure that a high standard is upheld by solar and wind energy installations across the state,” Rapp wrote.

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