Proposed legislation regarding solar energy was passed over during a legislative meeting Tuesday. The bill concerned with net metering was scheduled to be heard in the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee.
Bill sponsor Jared Carpenter says currently these solar customers are selling electricity back to utilities at the same rate as when purchasing power.
“We don’t want to subsidize who choose to have solar panels on their home, subsidize that by people who are just trying to pay their electric bill.”
The bill has been backed by the state’s traditional utilities. Solar advocates have contended the bill would stymie the fledgling solar industry.
Carpenter said he had no intention of hurting any industry or putting people out of work. He said he worked into the night Tuesday on changes but decided not to offer the new language.
“I didn’t think it was fair to the members of the committee or anybody that’s interested in this issue to push something through on short notice,” he says. “It’s too big of an issue for that.”
Joe Arnold with the Kentucky Association of Electric Coops says the utility position is not a dispute against solar, but about how the energy law was written 15 years ago.
Solar Energy Solutions Owner Steve Ricketts says the issue deserves more study.
“Solar is a net benefit to the electrical grid. The utilities would say differently, but solar, for instance, when they need the most power in the height of a hot afternoon, solar is producing its most power,”
Carpenter said it’s likely the issue will undergo further study during the legislative interim and be presented again in the next session.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.