At Robert Peirce & Associates, P.C., we are staunch supporters of small businesses, including solar farms. When we heard of David Hommrich’s case against Pennsylvania utility giants and the state itself, we were compelled to represent him and the very first solar farm that his company, Sunrise Energy LLC, started. We are very proud to announce that Attorneys Robert F. Daley, D. Aaron Rihn, and A. Michael Gianantonio of Robert Peirce & Associates, P.C. were able to obtain a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling in his favor.
As reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Hommrich went to the highest court in the state to assert his right to engage in net metering, a practice in which customers have the right to deduct the cost of any energy generated by their alternative energy projects (such as solar panels) from their utility bills. Through net metering, customers can even get paid for any extra energy that they generate and do not use.
In 2004, a law granted Pennsylvania residents the right to net meter. Hommrich’s legal trouble began 10 years later when West Penn Power stopped paying him for the energy his solar farm was generating. What’s more, it claimed that the payments it had made to him over the previous four years were only errors.
Then, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) started to debate whether the right to net meter should extend beyond customers who have independent energy needs. For example, a customer who owns a house has an independent energy need, and for these customers, net metering is only an incentive to go green. When it comes to solar farms that are set up solely for the purpose of generating energy and getting the kickback from net metering, the PUC determined that these “merchant generators” should not have the right to net meter. This rendered the entire business model of these farms obsolete.
When Hommrich heard of this new PUC rule, he decided to take legal action. With the help of Robert Peirce & Associates, P.C., he asserted a claim alleging that PUC was acting outside its jurisdiction by stripping merchant generators of their right to net meter.
On February 17, 2021, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in Hommrich’s favor, opening myriad doors for future merchant generators like him. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, it is expected that more solar farms will soon pop up, particularly nonprofit and municipal ones. Needless to say, we are continuing to persist in the case against West Penn Power, and we expect that the Supreme Court ruling in favor of our client will only help.
Our attorneys at Robert Peirce & Associates, P.C. are very proud to represent Hommrich in his fight for his rights as a Pennsylvania resident and as a business owner, especially considering that his business is an environmentally friendly endeavor. We are committed to making communities across the state better, cleaner, healthier places to live, and our legal advocacy for merchant generators will not stop anytime soon.
If you are seeking legal help, contact our award-winning lawyers online today or at (844) 383-0565.