Is Net Metering an Endangered Species in Indiana?
Watch out, Hoosiers. HB1320 has been initiated contact your legislature today.
In several states across the country, we have seen monopoly utility resistance to transiting our energy infrastructure from fossil-fuels to cleaner alternatives. There is a significant amount of outside money invested in the multi-state effort to eliminate net metering in order to maintain the status quo. Now the resistance movement has reached Indiana. Net Metering in Indiana is in danger of vanishing.
What exactly IS “net metering?”
Through the policy called “net metering,” rooftop solar owners receive fair credit for the excess electricity that they feed into the power grid during the day, when solar panels generate power at peak demand times. This power goes to neighboring homes and businesses — power that the utility sells to those neighbors and businesses at the going retail rate.
Now utilities want to profit off of the solar power that rooftop solar owners provide. We hear that legislation is planned to restrict Indiana’s net metering program, which was established in 2011 during the Daniels Administration. What will the bills say? We don’t know for certain, but here is what we do know: Opponents of rooftop solar express concern about cost shifting, but these are the facts about rooftop solar and its benefits:
– Rooftop solar produces power during periods of peak demand – precisely the time of day when the grid is straining and power costs are at their highest. Solar should be a core part of the plan to meet future energy demand without building new power plants.
– Rooftop solar creates high-quality, local jobs. They can’t be outsourced or automated. And since they require skilled employees, wages are enough to sustain a family without supplementary welfare.
– States that have encouraged the clean energy industry to grow have created huge numbers of clean energy jobs that last, not just short-term construction jobs. As a local business owner, I would like to hire more employees – I started interviewing in October. But now I have to watch the outcome of this legislative session to see if there is any hope of supporting additional employees before I hire.
– Indiana’s air quality is among the lowest in the nation. Yet we have no state level incentives to encourage the deployment of clean energy technologies.
– Energy Costs in Indiana are increasing for entirely different market-based reasons:
As the energy mix changes, and emissions regulation becomes reality, coal-derived energy becomes more expensive relative to electricity generated by natural gas .
Neighboring states have more diversified sources of energy. Indiana is losing the cost advantage we enjoyed as market forces reflect less favorably on energy from coal.
For more information on net metering and its benefits to ALL rate payers, see: http://www.oursolarrights.org/info-net-metering/what-net-metering/
What can we do?
We have to tell our state representatives and state senators the other side. Lobbyists excel at getting a clear message to politicians. With the absence of opposing lobbyists, the path seems completely clear to the politicians – job loss = “bad.” Renewable energy = job loss.
Tell your officials that they should not eliminate net metering, but should encourage further adoption of rooftop solar in Indaina. Tell them about your system. Tell them your position. If you are a job-seeker in renewable energy, tell them you want the rooftop solar industry to grow so you can stay here in Indiana.
While all representatives will vote on the measure, here is where you can see if your senator or representative is on one of the 2015 utilities committees .
If you do not know who your legislator is, find out here:
Whether you are a solar or small wind system owner, are a job seeker in this industry, or an advocate who wants to see an increase in clean energy in Indiana’s mix, make your voice heard. This move is in the wrong direction for Indiana. Feel free to share this with other like-minded individuals and organizations.