Solar Power Users, Businesses React to Vectren Plan

The move to solar power, on the local level, drawing praise and criticism.

It comes days after Vectren unveiled their grid modernization plan, which includes two mega-watt solar power sites. 

Jimmy Alldredge has had solar panels on his roof for several years.

"What power I use, I use and what I don't goes back in to the grid," he says.

He says its saved him up to $100 a month on his power bill, but he's concerned about plans by Vectren and Indiana lawmakers on solar electricity.  He's fine with the plan, but worried about any potential rate increases to pay for it.

"I don't understand why they want to penalize us. We're going green, help the environment, power I don't use goes back to them and they can use it during peak," Alldredge says.

Vectren officials say their modernization plan is forward thinking, with the creation of a thousand jobs and economic benefits of up to $650 million over the next several years. Officials say it would also shorten power outages and make the system more reliable and safer.

"I think the more people see solar out there, the more that it's an option," says Ryan Zaricki of Whole Sun Designs, which has done 150 solar projects the past five years. He welcome's Vectren's venture in to solar power, but was concerned about the timing of it with the state senate considering their solar power bill.

"The fact that they're announcing this project while we are deep in debate about Senate Bill 309 is very damaging, and it also speaks to the fact that the utilities are O.K. with solar if they own those assets," he says.

A Vectren spokesperson says there's no connection between the timing of vectren's announcement and the bill making its way through the senate. The utility's plan is still in front of the indiana utility regulatory commission.


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