Kentucky’s Solar Industry Working To Rewrite Net Metering Bill
Kentucky solar advocates want state regulators to consider the benefits of residential solar, but they say that won’t happen under the latest version of a net metering bill under consideration in the state General Assembly.
Last week, the House of Representatives narrowly passed a revised version of House Bill 227, which would allow state regulators to set the rates for the solar power that customers feed back into the electricity grid.
The measure is now before the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee and could be considered as early as next week.
Bill advocates, including bill sponsor Republican Rep. Jim Gooch, say it’s a fair compromise between competing interests.
But the solar industry and at least one former state regulator say the bill prevents Kentucky’s Public Service Commission from considering the benefits that solar-powered households offer when they sell excess energy back to the grid.
“Effectively this current language is just directing the Public Service Commission to look at utility costs to serve customers and to make sure the utility gets reimbursed for 100 percent of those costs,” said Matt Partymiller, president of the Kentucky Solar Industry Association, which represents solar installers.
Among other benefits, residential solar power offsets electricity lost in grid transmission and distribution, improves the resiliency of the electricity grid, reduces the need to build new power plants and creates clean, renewable energy.
“The phrase ‘measurable benefits’ needs to be included so that the PSC’s determination can be complete and fair, just and reasonable,” wrote James Gardner, the former chairman of Kentucky’s Public Service Commission, in an email to Republican Senator Jared Carpenter, Chair of the Senate’s Natural Resources and Energy Committee.