Energy credit guidelines revised

The Kentucky Public Service Commission has issued new guidelines to make it easier for people to generate their own electricity and send the excess to a utility for a credit on their bills.

Net metering, as it is called, already applied to solar power. The new rules take in wind energy and power generated by small dams or by burning biomass or bio-gas.

That means a small sawmill could burn sawdust to generate power and send some of it to a utility, PSC spokesman Andrew Melnykovych said Friday. So could a farmer using methane from livestock waste.

The guidelines were required in Senate Bill 83, which was passed last year. In May, the PSC brought together utilities, environmental groups and others to work on the guidelines.

"Establishing uniform net-metering guidelines is a key to increasing Kentucky's renewable power market," Gov. Steve Beshear said in a news release.

Relatively few people have taken advantage of solar net metering because it can cost more that $10,000 to install solar panels on a home.

Melnykovych said it would be up to individuals to decide whether they want to make a financial commitment that, with Kentucky's currently low electricity rates, wouldn't pay for itself for a very long time.

Federal tax incentives, if they materialize, could make that choice more attractive, he said.