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Coalition urges responsible growth of solar power in Kentucky

Senate Bill 214 ensures shared costs of maintaining energy grid while promoting sustainable energy.

Frankfort, Ky–A coalition of Kentucky utilities and job creation partners support Senate Bill 214 to make necessary updates to 15-year-old laws governing the cost of maintaining the state’s power grid. Serving nearly 3 million Kentuckians, Kentucky’s regulated utilities support SB 214 because the legislation would protect utility customers across the commonwealth while helping responsibly grow Kentucky’s renewable energy infrastructure.

Under current law, solar users get a premium for the energy produced from their panels and shift a portion of their fixed costs to other ratepayers, even if they don’t use solar energy. Ratepayers, often rural and low-income, are subsidizing those who choose and can afford to install solar panels on their houses.

“This legislation is important to protect energy consumers across Kentucky,” said Chris Perry, president and CEO of the Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives. “Expecting rural Kentuckians who rely on utility services to pay for the grid while solar panel users get subsidized is unfair and we believe that needs to be fixed. SB 214 creates a level playing field for everyone.”

Senate Bill 214 will resolve the unfair subsidization of renewable energy by allowing electric utilities to apply the rate-making process at the Public Service Commission to more fairly allocate system costs between net-metering customers and all others.

Not only does the legislation work to keep rates affordable, it is good for Kentucky business and promotes sustainability.

“We support Senate Bill 214 because it updates a 15-year-old incentive system and ensures that all electricity customers pay their fair share for service by a utility,” said Ashli Watts with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. “Not only does it protect consumers, it protects the low-cost energy advantage Kentucky has in attracting business to our state while ensuring responsible growth of solar and other renewable energy.”

Senate Bill 214 grandfathers existing solar users and will ensure their credits and benefits are maintained. At the same time, it promotes sustainability by expanding the cap for net metered installations to 1,000 KW—more than 30x the current cap of 30 KW.

“The bill promotes the growth of solar and other renewable energy sources in Kentucky in a fair and equitable manner, something we have all been working toward,” said Chris Whelan of LG&E and KU. “This legislation is a step forward in the ongoing conversations we have been having with solar groups to develop a common solution that establishes a fair allocation of costs between net metering customers and traditional customers.”

Other supporters of reforming the net metering system include the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers, Kentucky’s Electric Utilities regulated by the PSC, and Consumer Energy Alliance.

The coalition is urging Kentuckians to contact state senators and encourage them to support SB 214.  Click here to send a letter of support.

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