EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) — An Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled against CenterPoint Energy and in favor of environmental and consumer groups when it comes to solar panels and the price of energy.
CenterPoint had proposed getting rid of its net-metering plan, which reimbursed solar owners at nearly a 1-to-1 ratio for the excess energy that homes produce and put back into the grid.
CenterPoint’s plan was to give renewable energy producers 2.7 cents/kWh credit for the energy they produce instead of the going rate customers pay of 15 cents/ kWh.
This caused a stir with environmental and consumer groups, who said the change was anti-green and discouraged people from installing solar panels.
Solar companies say they are ecstatic about the ruling and how it will impact customers.
“The ruling is allowing us, an area and region, and CenterPoint specifically to reconsider that rate and give customers a higher value for that energy they are producing with their systems and sending back to the grid and they should get that credit for it,” said Hannah Jaramillo, Solar Solutions Consultant at Morton Solar and Electric.
One of the groups involved in the legal fight was the Environmental Law & Policy Center. It hopes the ruling helps consumers have a better understanding when it comes to solar power decisions.
“What we’re hoping from here is that we have a lot more stability and clarity around roof top solar compensation in the state so that consumers can predict the value of renewable energy and they can make decisions about investing in renewable and that this will ultimately be better for consumers,” said Brad Klein, Senior Attorney at Environmental Law & Policy Center.
CenterPoint has argued paying solar producers a higher rate will just mean higher prices for everyone else.
The company also released the following statement: “We continue reviewing the court’s decision and weighing options on behalf of our customers. CenterPoint Energy believes rightsizing the payment made to customers that return energy to the grid is important to ensure a balance between the interests of customers that own generation and those that do not. CenterPoint Energy’s Rate EDG replaced a payment structure that resulted in customers without their own generation subsidizing customers with generation, even though all customers continue to depend on CenterPoint Energy’s infrastructure. We will work toward and are in support of an option that is fair for all of our customers.”
This proposed plan would not have effected homes already producing solar power, just those who add solar power panels becomes effective.