Energy freedom in Kentucky is in its infancy, yet it is in peril.
Solar is the most viable renewable source here, so legislators passed a law called “net-metering” under which utilities give customers who generate extra power from solar panels a credit.
Defeated last year, utilities are again seeking to dismantle the net metering law. They claim that solar customers pose a burden because the utility gives them credit for extra daytime power, which the utility resells to the neighbor at full retail price.
This arrangement, called a “subsidy” to customers with independent solar systems, is actually a gift to the utility. Solar panels produce power during the daytime, generating the most during peak-demand hours. This power, if not used on the spot, flows into the grid and is worth 23 cents per kilowatt-hour at peak times. The off-peak power solar customers use after sundown is worth six cents per kilowatt-hour.
So, net-meter customers trade power valued three times more than the power they receive to be connected to the grid. This is hardly a subsidy to the net-metered customers; indeed, net-metering subsidizes the utilities.
Net-metered customers are willing to participate in this arrangement in order to encourage more residential solar installations and support the well-paying jobs this emerging industry creates.
The Kentucky Solar Energy Society urges everyone to contact their legislators and tell them to leave the current net-metering law in place.
Chair, Ky. Solar Energy Society