2019 Alerts

Watch this space for fast-breaking news during the 2019 session.

Senate Bill 100: (Net Metering Bill affecting residential solar)
FINAL VOTE

Update: 3/14/19 11:00 PM EST:
(Bill Passed out of Senate and also House, which added House Floor Amendment 1. Senate has voted not to accept the House version. The House had to decide if it would recede, or go to a conference committee.  Utility lobbyists were putting pressure on House members to recede. Your calls and emails helped to counter that pressure, but very late on the last session day before the veto period began, the House voted to recede, and then voted for final passage of the bill.

Final count:

Vote to recede from the amendment 50 for, 38 against
Final passage 55 for, 36 against (bill passes without amendment)
Over a dozen nonprofits, including low income housing groups, faith and advocacy groups, and environmental groups, worked together to support these independent solar installers and job creators as well as residential solar owners. We are disappointed by the result, which will hurt small businesses, depress new clean energy jobs and limit consumer choice. However during the three years we have fought this unnecessary bill, consumers have become acutely aware of the benefits of solar ownership, its affordability and the energy security it provides. Solar IS working for all Kentuckians and will continue to do so despite monopoly utilities attempting to control the market at the expense of consumers.
Our thanks to all who worked so hard to try to turn this bill around. We will continue to work to repair the damage to this important emerging market and to those customers who will be affected.


Previous Updates: 


Senate Bill 100: (Net Metering Bill affecting residential solar)

Urge House Members and House Leadership
“Don’t Recede” 
Do not Pass SB100 without HFA1

Update: 3/14/19 6:00 AM EST:
(Bill Passed out of Senate and also House, which added House Floor Amendment 1. Senate has voted not to accept the House version. The House must now decide if it will recede, or go to a conference committee.  Utility lobbyists are putting pressure on House members to recede. Your calls and emails will counter that pressure).

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VOTE EXPECTED TODAY:
Please call and email the House and House Leadership (info below
and tell them NOT TO RECEDE to the Senate and do not pass  SB100 without House Floor amendment 1 (HFA1) an amendment that is a fair balancing of the interests of the electric utilities, net metering customers, small solar businesses, and non-participating residential ratepayers. If the bill does not include the amendment, then we want the bill to die.

  • If you live in a district represented by a Republican House member ask that they hold firm against receding.
  • If you have friends or family in Prospect, ask that they contact Speaker Osborne (info below) and ask him to hold the bill until at least the veto day.

CALL 1-800-372-7181 or Email here. (You can also email using Firstname.LastName@LRC.ky.gov)

House LEADERSHIP

Also Contact Senate MAJORITY LEADERSHIP and tell them “Do Not Pass SB 100 Without HFA1”

Senate President Robert Stivers
President Pro Tempore David Givens
Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer
Majority Whip Mike Wilson
Majority Caucus Chair Julie Raque Adams

 

 


 

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Our Thanks to all who made calls and sent emails. Many of the concerns we had with this bill were addressed in an amendment, HFA1 (Duplessis). While the bill still has issues of concern, this House amendment is an improvement over the Senate version of the bill.

The most notable parts of what the DuPlessis amendment does is:
  • Allows for third-party leasing of systems, which would help customers who afford the upfront costs of installing solar on their property. This is an improvement current policy.
  • Opens the door for one, rather than multiple, cases before the PSC to set the rate for solar energy credits, and ensures that solar advocates have intervention rights – which is significant given that the current PSC has excluded low-income advocates from the KU/LG&E rate case.
  • Removes language for “instantaneous netting.” Without getting into the details, “instantaneous netting” would have allowed the PSC to devalue all electricity fed into the grid, rather than just the excess energy a rooftop solar customer feeds onto the grid but didn’t use each month.
  • Requires that in setting rates for solar customers, the PSC consider a list of identified benefits of solar. This is huge!
  • Adopts clear grandfathering language in SB 100, and provides a 10-year grandfather for anyone opting to install rooftop solar before 2024.

 

However, where the amendment fails is that it continues to define net metering in terms of “dollar value” rather than kilowatt-hour credits. This opens up the possibility that rooftop solar customers be considered wholesale electric suppliers and thus, under federal regulation, be credited for excess energy at a lower, wholesale rate. The failed Booker amendment would have fixed this language, and it seems clear from the floor debate that utilities intend to argue this point in the future–hence the vehement opposition for it from Gooch and others. The amendment also does not remove the hard 1% cap, so utilities can still stop offering net metering service once energy-generating capacity from net metered solar installations comprise 1% of load.

Please Thank the Following Legislators: 

Thanking legislators who helped us will be an important part of the follow up as there were many who helped us in earlier votes and procedures.
  • Some may not realize that when Rep. DuPlessis voted for the bill to move SB100 out of the House Natural Resources & Energy committee,  that was a move intended to provide a better opportunity to get the legislation amended. He then provided a proactive solution for fixing this bill through his House Floor Resolution HFA1. So we need to thank him for being a leader in this debate.
  • We also owe great thanks Thank Speaker David Osborne and Minority Leader Rocky Adkins for supporting House Floor Amendment 1.
  • Please also thank Rep. Booker who introduced House Floor Amendment 4, which would have further fixed the bill, but failed to pass.
  • We should also should thank Senator McGarvey, who helped us at the very beginning of this process 5 years ago when he tried to help us move a proactive bill those first two years.
Earlier Vote recap from beginning of this session:

House Natural Resources & Energy Committee Vote:  members who voted on our side during the committee meeting on the 14th (a “no” vote was on our side):

Senators who voted on our side during the first senate passage on the 13th (a “no” vote was on our side):

 

 

 


Previous Update: 2/15/19 6:30AM EST:

 "KY Solar is Under Threat: Take Action Now. Call the Legislative Hotline 1.800.372.7181

SB100 Now passed through House Natural Resources. Expect the bill to be heard Friday in the House.


CALLS, EMAILS NEEDED TO THE FULL HOUSE:

Say no to Senate Bill 100.

The House Natural Resources Committee, after two tries in a single day, has now passed Senate Bill 100. This bill has passed the Senate as well, and with the passage out of the House Natural Resources is now on its way to the full  HOUSE where six House floor amendments have been filed to address the flaws in this bill. The bill is expected to be heard early on Friday. The session starts at 9am

Legislators need to know this proposed bill is not a fix and the process has NOT been transparent nor given equal consideration of independent solar interests and that the existing net metering laws are adequate. Please call the message line at 1-800-372-7181 or email members of the FULL HOUSE and tell them you support strong net metering laws that protect rooftop solar and protect homeowner credits for the energy they generate.

1. Leave a message for all members of the HOUSE. You can also email your legislators at firstname.lastname@lrc.ky.gov. Find your legislators here.

Suggested message: “I urge you to vote NO on SB 100. This bill IS NOT A FIX and restricts consumer choice and Kentucky’s homegrown solar industry. It rewards monopoly utilities at the expense of homeowners, independent solar businesses and solar jobs. Solar works for all Kentuckians. It’s time our utilities did too.”

YOUR MESSAGES- EMAILS AND CALLS- ARE WORKING! Members of the House Natural Resources indicated that they are receiving tons of calls on this bill!! Make sure the full House hears the same!

After you make your calls, please also THANK the four members of the House Natural Resources who voted in opposition to moving the bill out of committee: Rep. Booker, Rep. Hatton, Rep. Raymond, Rep. Stevenson.

2. Sign up to lobby with us in Frankfort about your support for rooftop solar, or let us know about a day that works for you.  


Background information

Net metering is the name for a popular state policy which gives customers a one-for-one credit on their utility bills for energy delivered to the grid by rooftop solar panels or by other forms of locally installed renewable energy. It is this policy that makes rooftop solar accessible for most Kentuckians, and allows farmers, low- and fixed-income residents, rural people, veterans, small businesses, schools and nonprofits to lower their bills and have a say in where they get their energy.

SB 100 seeks to reward and protect utility monopolies, while restricting consumer choice and hobbling Kentucky’s independent solar energy industry. It would:

  •  Rewrite Kentucky’s net-metering rules so that monopoly utility companies – and not Kentucky’s residents, employers, workers or independent renewable energy businesses – benefit and profit from solar energy.

  • End net-metering as we know it and and instead credit rooftop solar customers for the energy they produce at a rate determined by the Public Service Commission. This rate would likely be substantially lower than the current one-for-one rate under net metering, because SB 100 encourages the commission to consider only the costs claimed by utilities – and not the many benefits that net-metered solar energy systems deliver to utilities and all non-solar customers.

  • Deny rooftop solar customers certainty over their investments through the possibility of changing compensation rates

  • Grandfather in existing net-metered systems for 25 years. After this time, net metering will end for those systems, and owners will receive credits at the lower, PSC-determined rate.

It’s worth noting that, as utilities seek to kill the policy of net metering, they also offer their own solar programs. It’s not that utilities are opposed to solar in Kentucky. But this legislation would limit consumer choice.

SB 100 could bring homegrown rooftop solar, and the good-paying jobs that come with it, to a screeching halt across Kentucky, while ensuring that electric utility monopolies are the only ones permitted to benefit and profit from the power of the sun.

Even before the introduction of SB 100, Kentucky’s solar energy laws are among the most restrictive in the nation. For example, Kentucky already:

  • Caps the size of net-metered systems at 30 kW. (The limit in West Virginia, Indiana and Virginia are 2,000, 1,000, and 500 kW respectively.)
  • Caps the total capacity of net-metered systems at 1% of a utility’s peak load, a fraction of what other states are already achieving.
  • Provides no state tax incentives for customers who install their own renewable energy systems.
  • Prohibits third party ownership of renewable energy systems, bans virtual net-metering (the ability to assign net-metering credits to other customer accounts), and prohibits independently owned community solar farms.