HARRISBURG – Legislation which would prohibit large-scale solar project developments on prime PA farmland has been introduced. Senate Bill 798 would prohibit development on land considered class one or class two by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service. USDA considers these classes the best for farming and crop production. Bill sponsor, Sen. Doug Mastriano of Adams & Franklin Counties said in recent years, there has been a surge in the number of solar companies seeking to lease prime agricultural land for the purpose of constructing large solar facilities. Once the panels are installed, the landscape of the land is drastically altered and unlikely to be able to be used again for adequate farming after the lease ends. Nearby property values also can be affected, as some large solar farms create eyesores for the neighboring community. The bill also would create a new type of state tax credit program unavailable in any other state that would provide incentives for solar companies to develop on alternate sites such as brownfields, old industrial sites, capped landfills, and surface parking lots. The PA Farm Bureau and PA State Grange have indicated they are supportive of policies that protect prime farmland from large-scale solar developments. The bill is before the PA Senate Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee.