Kentucky has been one of the last states to move to solar. According to the latest estimates by Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) the state has only installed 32 MW of solar to date, and despite tax credits the residential sector has been small.
However, an effort by legislators in the coal-producing state to strangle solar in its cradle has been buried in a committee of the Kentucky Legislature.
HB 227 would have allowed state regulators to set a new rate for compensation of the output of net metered systems. More concerning, it would have opened the doors for the state’s utilities to change their rate structures to claw back revenue from PV system owners, including imposing fixed and demand charges.
Already, one set of demand charges has been approved to date by a state regulator on residential customers. Not only are these charges detrimental to PV system economics, but they have also been deemed confusing and unpredictable by ratepayer advocates and ratepayers.
However, on the last day of the state’s legislative session the bill was sent back to a Senate committee, spelling its demise. Environmental and civil society groups including Kentuckians for the Commonwealth (KFTC) cheered the victory.
HB 227 had undergone a number of changes, starting off as a bill to change compensation for net metering. The bill underwent sweeping amendments in the House to give utilities more power to impose charges on customers, with some of the more egregious amendments – such as removing oversight by state regulators – later being removed.
Now the nascent Kentucky solar industry can breathe a sigh of relief – at least until the next legislative session.