Bill would give solar panel users less credit

Bill would give solar panel users less credit

KENTUCKY (WFIE) - A bill moving through the Kentucky legislature will affect people who use solar panels to power their homes.

Under House Bill 227, the state is looking to make a change in the solar power law, which would let utility companies buy the electricity from those solar customers at the cheaper wholesale rate instead of the higher retail rate.

Some Kentuckians are saying the bill is essentially killing residential solar, allowing the utility to maintain a monopoly. Advocates argue the bill seeks to make it fair for people who can't afford to install solar panels because they say a power bill is more than just buying electricity.

It's also paying for the infrastructure that brings the electricity to the house. By getting a more generous credit on their power bills, industry advocates say residential solar customers are using the grid but not paying their fair share to maintain it.

The owner of Synergy Home in Lexington, a residential solar company, said most home solar systems cost about $20,000, not including federal tax credits. It normally takes nine years for a person in Kentucky to recoup that investment.

If this law passes, he said it would take 20 years, making it much harder for people to install the systems.

Kentucky could become the eighth state to replace its net metering program, but the bill faces a lot of opposition. This is the second year the state's new Republican majority has tried to pass the bill.

Similar debates are being held in state legislatures across the country.

So far, 38 states offer net metering programs and five states, including Indiana, have eliminated them and replaced them with something else.

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