A lot can change in fourteen years, the solar industry included.
“Solar, for the first time in history, is providing just a slight bit of competition to monopoly entities,” said Brad Morton, of Morton Solar in the Tri-State.
More affordable solar power is now a currency across the nation and Tri-State, but local industry leaders say if Kentucky House Bill 227 passes, that could all change.
“The payback has to be there for the investor, for the homeowner or the property owner to invest in solar, and if they’re not going to get a good RIO then solar will not progress,and the solar industry will die on the vine,” said Morton.
The bill looks to cut net metering, the credit utility companies pay homeowners for excess solar power pumped into the grid, by seventy percent.
The bill could also threaten roughly 1,200 solar energy jobs in the Commonwealth.
Henderson State Representative and newest Natural Resources and Energy Committee Member, Robby Mills, says the main goal of the bill is to establish how much solar power is really worth.
“The issue is whether the reimbursement credits that owners of solar equipment are getting reimbursed by the electric companies, whether that rate is too high, too low, or subsidized,” said Rep. Mills.
The new bill would base that amount on a uniform tariff established by Kentucky Public Service Commission.
“That over subsidization gets passed on to other people over time when those costs of power distribution are not being collected each month. So what do we do going forward is make sure that in the future when people are putting that power into the grid, they’re getting what every other generator would get under Kentucky’s existing tariff structure,” said Brydon Ross, VP of State Affairs for Consumer Energy Alliance, a group lobbying for the bill.
The Kentucky Public Service Commission says there is no proof of subsidization in current rates, and the committee has yet to investigate any claims of cost shifting.
If the bill were to pass, new net metering regulation would be grandfathered in.
The bill is currently still in committee. No word yet on when it will go up for a vote.