Op-Ed

Gooch made concessions to solar advocates to move net metering bill

It’s important that readers are aware of new facts concerning House Bill 227, the proposed solar legislation which has had significant concessions made by Rep. Jim Gooch to address concerns raised by advocates — at the expense of legislation Kentucky families on tight budgets need.

This revised bill, which was approved by the Kentucky House Wednesday on a 49-45 vote, is not anti-solar, as some have falsely claimed. It wouldn’t change anything for current program participants. It also wouldn’t reduce or prevent anyone from being able to generate solar power to offset their energy use. What it would change is one thing: Future compensation to sell excess generation back to the grid will have to be paid at a competitive rate, instead of today’s 300 percent premium price. This would help incentive policies stay in line with the dramatic reduction in solar installation cost and put it on a responsible path for expansion.

Gooch’s recent amendment would expand the size of eligible systems by 50 percent, as well as extend the deadline for those interested in signing up under our existing private solar program, all while ensuring that costs of maintaining the grid are allocated fairly, without forcing non-solar customers to shoulder the burden.

Kentucky’s 14-year-old private solar policy is outdated, and the costs to provide power 24/7 are not being fairly allocated between solar and non-solar users. This will inevitably hurt the progress of solar energy unless policy is modernized to ensure its sustainable growth while protecting all consumers equally.

Brydon Ross is vice president of state affairs for the Consumer Energy Alliance.

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