Chairman Expands Committee Reviewing Controversial Solar Bill

Feb 2, 2018

Three lawmakers have been added to a committee considering a controversial bill that would scale back incentives for homes with solar panels. Capitol reporter Ryland Barton says the move might help extend the life of the bill, which has been controversial. 

The net metering bill has been on the agenda of the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee twice, but hasn’t gotten a vote—possibly signaling there aren’t enough votes for it yet. 

That might change with the addition of two Republicans and a Democrat to the 19-member panel. 

Tom Fitzgerald, an environmental activist and attorney with the Kentucky Resources Council, called the move “highly unusual.” 

“I think the more the merrier, but the motivation as I understand was in fact to get a troubled bill out of committee. And it is a bill that does not deserve or need to be passed out of committee,” 

House Bill 227 would reduce the value of credits received by households and businesses that participate in Kentucky’s “net metering” program, which rewards solar generators for producing extra energy that is pumped back out onto the grid to be used by other customers. 

Those credits are equal to the retail price of power and can be applied to future electricity bills, but the legislation would devalue the credits by about two-thirds to the wholesale price of power.