By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Pennsylvania doesn’t crack the top ten states that are driving the solar boom in the country, but cities like Philadelphia are helping to pick up the slack.
Penn Environment field organizer Sophie Grueterich says while Philadelphia has set a goal of producing enough solar power for 20,000 homes by 2025, more solar-friendly policies are needed to make it happen.
Last year, enough solar power was produced to provide power for 867 homes in Philadelphia.
“The main reason that solar isn’t catching on as much as fossil fuels is because of the high up-front costs,” Grueterich said.
Councilman Bobby Henon thinks we can do better. Henon says the cost of installed solar energy systems has fallen 60% since 2011.
“We could be on the cutting edge of the ever-changing technology of the solar industry,” he said.
Henon is part of a solar working group on Council looking to tap the benefits of clean energy from the sun.
Supporters say solar photovoltaic panels, which convert sunlight directly into electricity, produce 91-96% less global warming pollution than natural gas or coal-fired power plants.
New Jersey ranks 3rd in the country in installed solar capacity; Pennsylvania is 11th.