Alternative Energy Resources
Solar, Geothermal and Wind Power, and Electric Vehicles and Charging Stations
Expanding clean and sustainable energy production in our region will help to mitigate the impact of climate change, contribute to a more reliable energy network, support economic growth with the creation of new jobs, and provide cost savings for residents and businesses. The resources below provide information, guidance, and example language for the use and installation of alternative energy facilities.
Chester County Solar Power Guide
The Chester County Planning Commission has created a web-based guide for municipalities that want to allow solar power facilities in their community. View the guide.
DVRPC Renewable Energy Ordinance Frameworks
DVRPC's Renewable Energy Ordinance Frameworks serve as a resource for municipalities as they develop and update ordinances to govern the siting of small-scale renewable energy systems in their community. The purpose of these frameworks is to provide clear, consistent guidance on how to construct renewable energy ordinances that are consistent with state laws; are not overly restrictive or contradictory to the nature of renewable energy systems; and promote safe and sound community development.
Renewable Energy Frameworks have been developed for the following renewable energy technologies:
Montgomery County Solar Information
The Montgomery County Planning Commission provides a number of alternative energy resources on their Solar Information webpage including a Field Inspection Checklist for Rooftop Photovoltaic Systems and Renewable Energy: a series on alternative energy sources which covers the following topics:
Chester County Sample Solar Ordinances ** NEW! **
As of July 2023, 42 Chester County municipalities have some form of solar energy regulations in place. Several municipalities also address additional types of clean energy such as wind and geothermal systems. View three municipal ordinance examples that address accessory use and principle use solar energy systems.
Bucks and Cumberland Counties
The Bucks County Planning Commission developed a model ordinance for alternative energy facilities and the Cumberland County Planning Department created an information guide about solar energy systems.
- Bucks County Model Alternative Energy Ordinance — PDF (2021)
- Bucks County Model Alternative Energy Ordinance — WORD version (2021)
- Cumberland County Alternative Energy Series: SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEMS
PECO Solar for Home and Business
PECO's page on Solar Energy for Home and Business provides resources that include a solar calculator to estimate costs and savings, an overview of solar energy, a guide through the process of installation, and information on incentives and credits.
Penn State Extension Solar Resources
This Penn State Extension has a series of free webinars and articles focused on alternative energy issues including trends in solar energy production, utility scale solar, agrivoltaics, and solar leasing for landowners.
PA DEP Renewable Energy Resources
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) provides a wide range of solar resources for residents and homeowners assessing potential solar energy use including lists of qualified installers, how to purchase solar-generated electricity through an electricity supplier, and incentive programs. The webpage also provides links to information on geothermal and wind generated energy.
PA DEP Solar Share Fact Sheet
This fact sheet presents data that begins in 2007 and goes to present day on the progress being made towards integration of renewable solar energy into Pennsylvania utility systems. Successes realized to date are highlighted.
Smart Energy Initiative of Southeastern PA
The Smart Energy Initiative (SEI) of Southeastern Pennsylvania is a public-private partnership focusing on energy efficiency, biofuels, geothermal, and solar industries. The SEI offers public education programming, consulting, worker training, sector-specific working groups, project leads and financing, and other business-related services.
SolSmart is a national program led by the International City/County Management association and the Solar Foundation, providing no-cost technical assistance from a team of national experts who evaluate programs and practices that impact the solar markets and identify high-prospect opportunities for improvement. Since launching in 2016, more than 400 cities, counties, and regional organizations in 41 states, the District of Colombia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have achieved the SolSmart designation. This designation is given to communities that achieve the goals set by SolSmart's objective criteria. Applying for this designation can be done through SolSmart's website and their technical assistants work with you throughout the process.
American Solar Energy Society (ASES)
American Solar Energy Society is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that advocates for sustainable living and 100% renewable energy by sharing information, events, and resources to cultivate community and power progress. ASES Solar Tour takes place annually in the fall and is the largest grassroots solar, renewable energy, and sustainable living event in the nation.
Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy Program (C-PACE)
The Chester County commissioners approved a resolution calling for county participation in C-PACE, a clean energy financing program for commercial properties. C-PACE is a financial tool for commercial property owners to obtain low-cost, long-term financing for energy efficiency, renewable energy and water conservation projects. The Sustainable Energy Fund administers the program and can connect project developers to authorized contractors and lenders. View additional information about the program.
Questions can be directed to the Sustainable Energy Fund at email@example.com or 610-264-4440.
Electric Vehicle Resources
As electric vehicles become more accessible, increasing numbers of Chester County residents are turning to them for their transportation needs. Municipalities can accelerate and support this transition to electric vehicles by planning for new infrastructure that includes renewable energy generation and electric vehicle charging stations. The use of electric vehicles is also facilitated through implementing appropriate ordinances for electric vehicle infrastructure. The resource links below encourage and support the use electric vehicles.
Electric Vehicle eTool
This Chester County Planning Commission eTool provides a quick overview of electric vehicle information, benefits, considerations, and resources.
DVRPC Electric Vehicle Resource Kit
The Electric Vehicle Resource Kit is managed and updated to provide reliable and accurate information and answer new questions as they arise. The overall intent of the resource kit is to help answer the question "What should my municipality do about electric vehicles?" and is written with municipal managers in mind. The information may also be useful to businesses, fleet managers, and potential electric vehicle owners.
DVRPC Electric Vehicle Mapping
These interactive maps plot distributions of existing and projected Plug-in Electric Vehicle (PEV) locations and workplace charging throughout the DVRPC region, as well as all of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. This mapping is helpful in understanding where the demand for new charging stations will be and assisting with sensible distribution between charging stations.
PECO Electric Vehicles
PECO's Electric Vehicle (EV) page includes essential electric vehicle information, a checklist for assessing if your home and business are EV ready, information on charging and the associated rates, and how to register your vehicle for a rebate.
PA DEP Electric Vehicles
Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection page on Electric Vehicles provides information on alternative fuels incentive grants, benefits of electric vehicles, a roadmap to increase electric vehicle use in Pennsylvania, and a fact sheet providing essential information about electric vehicles. The Amped: EV Webinar Series includes recorded webinars describing the basics and benefits of electric vehicles for residents, local governments, businesses, and fleet managers as well as an FAQ about driving electric vehicles.
PA DEP Alternative Fuel Rebates for Consumers
Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection has alternative fuel rebates for consumers. Eligibility requirements, how to apply for rebates, and the level of rebate based on type of vehicle are explained.
U.S. Department of Energy Alternative Fuels Data Center
This website provides a wide array of information on hybrid and electric vehicles including available tax credits and a calculator that allows you to compare fuel cost and emissions with a conventional vehicle.
Locating EV Charging Stations
These two interactive mapping websites provide nationwide EV charging station locations:
The Chester County Climate Action Plan was adopted by the County Commissioners on October 7, 2021. The plan was prepared by the Chester County Planning Commission in partnership with the County's Environmental and Energy Advisory Board. The Climate Action Plan provides a blueprint for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing energy efficiency at County government facilities and community-wide.
For more information about the plan, see the Climate Action Plan webpage.
Tools for Clean Energy
The following eTools provide a guide and overview of these clean and sustanaiable energy practices.
- Alternative Energy Facilities
- Electric Vehicles
- Energy Audits for Municipalities
- Green Development Codes and Ordinances
- Green Roofs
- Outdoor Lighting
Sustainable Energy Practices and Examples
- Chester County's Green Building
- Creating Energy-efficient Housing
- Designing Smart Neighborhoods
- Energy Conservation Myths
- Energy Calculators
- Energy Conservation Tips
- Home Energy Audits
- Home Energy Rating System
- How to Stay Comfortable at Home While Reducing Energy Cost
- Measuring Energy Efficiency in Buildings
- Recycling Buildings: Franklin Commons Economic Incubator
- Westminster Place, Parkesburg
- Winterizing Our Homes