Editorial: Who wants to kill solar energy in Kentucky?
A legislative bill obviously designed to discourage solar energy in
If approved by the full
Disguised under the title of a "net metering" bill, the legislation would roll back the current reimbursements paid to homeowners with solar panels on their roofs.
Under current regulations, homeowners sell surplus electricity back to utility companies at the retail rate.
House Bill 227 would change that selling price to the much lower wholesale rate, resulting in considerably less income for homeowners.
Firms that install solar panels say the smaller payments could mean that homeowners would need 20 years to recoup the cost of putting panels on their roofs - an average of
One person who protested the bill at a legislative hearing said:
"This bill is essentially killing residential solar energy and allowing the utility companies to maintain a monopoly."
He described it as the same advantage given a television cable company if it had been illegal to install a satellite dish for TV reception.
In other words, the bill would take away a homeowner's right to save money by generating electricity as clean, renewable energy from the sun.
He claims the current payment model is unfair because it forces utility companies to pay homeowners three times as much as their excess electricity is worth.
Future participants would start receiving the cheaper price for surplus electric in July.
The state's major investor-owned utilities companies,
They and the state's rural electric cooperatives are building solar farms of their own to generate electricity.
In our opinion, this bill is unfair to homeowners and could rob the state of solar-related jobs in the future.
And it won't bring back those lost coal mining jobs.