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Op-Ed: Lawmakers Pave Difficult Road to Transition to Clean Energy

With the aim to create a clean energy economy in Kentucky, our current representatives are paving a difficult road to a just transition.  

Senate Bill 100, an anti-solar bill, swept through the House and Senate and was signed into law by governor Bevin on March 26th, 2019. For two years now, utility monopolies have poured an abundance of money into our legislative sessions to push for a bad solar bill, one that will cripple the growth of home-grown, rooftop solar energy, and their multiple trials have finally succeeded.

This bill clearly favors these monopoly utilities as it dismisses an existing law referred to as net metering. Net metering granted qualifying solar customers in Kentucky a one-for-one credit for energy their solar rooftop systems provided to the grid, making the option of solar energy more affordable and accessible. Since net metering is no longer a choice, Kentuckians are restricted on their ability to choose their energy source and makes it inaccessible to most. Once again, the needs and wants of Kentuckians are pushed aside in favor of major corporations.  

Even before the introduction of SB 100, Kentucky’s solar energy laws are among the most restrictive in the nation. For example, Kentucky already:

  • Caps the size of net-metered systems at 30 kW. (The limit in West Virginia, Indiana and Virginia are 2,000, 1,000, and 500 kW respectively.)

  • Caps the total capacity of net-metered systems at 1% of a utility’s peak load, a fraction of what other states are already achieving.

  • Provides no state tax incentives for customers who install their own renewable energy systems.

  • Prohibits third party ownership of renewable energy systems, bans virtual net-metering (the ability to assign net-metering credits to other customer accounts), and prohibits independently owned community solar farms.

Lucky for us there is still a chance to make things just. We have just entered a public comment period on how the Public Service Commission (PSC) should implement Senate bill 100. For this to work, the PNC commissioners need to hear from all of us, our voices need to be louder than ever as we prove the importance of solar in Kentucky.

Please consider taking the following action steps to make sure Kentuckian’s voices are heard and needs are met:

  • Submit a written comment by Thursday, September 19th 

    • The PNC has set up a very difficult process or submitting written comments, for a direct link visit kftc.org/PSC-Comments 

    • Sample message: “I oppose the passage of the anti-solar bill or SB 100. The bill crushes consumer choice and Kentucky's home-grown solar industry. It rewards monopoly utilities at the expense of residents, independent businesses and jobs. Solar works for all Kentuckians. It's time our utilities did too.

  • Help us pack the room at the PSC’s public hearing on Tuesday, October 1st at 9 am EST, 211 Sower Boulevard, Frankfort. 

  • Volunteer to help KFTC talk with voters 

Kentuckians deserve the choice in where we get our energy, and we deserve a a government that backs us up in seeking that. 

No matter our race, age, gender, or class – We are Kentuckians, we choose each other.

Submitted by Kentuckians for the Commonwealth