Utility-Scale Solar: Opportunities & Obstacles

Thursday April 7, 2022 2:00pm to 3:00pm
Morgan Gallery
205 South 34th Street
19104 Philadelphia , PA

President Biden has set a goal for 100% renewable energy in the electricty generation sector by 2035. To achieve this goal will require the widespread development of utility-scale solar projects. This seminar will discuss what utility-scale solar is and where it is happening. Utility-scale solar will require large amounts of land and the decisions where to locate utility-scale solar will depend on the approval of local governments through zoning and land development regulations, state public utility commissions, regional transmission operators, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Speakers will discuss thier research, funded by the Kleinman Center, on efforts to locate utility-scale solar on farmland, present a model solar ordinance, and examine opportunities to co-locate utility-scale solar and farming activities. Finally, we will identify obstacles to the development of utility-scale solar, including tariffs on Chinese solar panels, supply chain disruptions, the process of connecting solar projects into the electrical grid, the needed extension of investment tax credits by Congress, and local opposition to utility-scale solar. 


Tom Daniels

Crossways Professor, City and Regional Planning

Weitzman School of Design

Tom Daniels directs the concentration in Land Use and Environmental Planning. He also administers the Certificate in Land Preservation and the Certificate in Ecological Planning. Tom frequently serves as a consultant to state and local governments and land trusts. Since 2005, he has served on the Board of Trustees of the Orton Family Foundation, which seeks to promote better planning and decision-making in small cities and towns. In 2010, Tom was a recipient of the Clarkson Chair at the State University of New York at Buffalo, a recognition as one of the leading academic planners in the United States.

Hannah Wagner

Master of City Planning Candidate

Weitzman School of Design

Hannah Wagner is a Master of City and Regional Planning candidate at the University of Pennsylvania Weitzman School of Design. As an experienced climate adaptation & resilience practitioner, she has expertise in assessing vulnerabilities, managing risks, and identifying opportunities to advance resilient infrastructure. I am committed to building more effective and equitable pathways to long-term resilience.