Indiana House approves bill to phase out retail net metering
- The Indiana House of Representatives voted 56-43 to approve a bill rolling back net metering and ultimately cut the remuneration rate to slightly more than the wholesale level.
- PV Tech reports the bill will now be sent back to the Senate, to work through any amendments added by lawmakers in the lower chamber. In February, Senators voted 39-9 in favor of their version of the bill.
- Indiana is a far bigger coal state than solar — the renewable resource makes up less than 1% of Indiana's energy consumption, but grew more than 70% last year.
Senate Bill 309 has gone through revisions since it was first introduced, with lawmakers scrapping a controversial "sell-all, buy-all" provision and grandfathering existing systems in for decades. But the Sierra Club has launched a radio campaign opposing the bill as a utility-led effort to kill solar.
“Just as solar power is becoming more affordable for everyone, Senate Bill 309 would take away that choice from thousands of Hoosier families, schools, churches, farms and small businesses," the ad says.
If the Senate advances the bill it will head to Gov. Eric Holcomb's (R) desk. If the governor signs it, the new law would ultimately reduce the rate paid to net metering customers from the retail rate to the utility's marginal cost, plus 25%.
Remuneration rates would be reduced through 2022, but grandfathered in for another decade for systems already interconnected. After 2022, new solar customers would receive the lower rate. Existing solar customers would see their rates decline out to 2047, when they would settle at the adjusted marginal cost calculation.
The bill's backers say it will help get out in front of revenue issues facing utilities with high solar penetrations in other parts of the country. But solar interests say there's no reason to stifle the growing market — Indianapolis Power & Light has only about 100 solar customers and none of the state's utilities are close to reaching their 1.5% net metering cap.
“Indiana’s monopoly utilities are trying to kill solar power just as it’s becoming an affordable choice for many Hoosier families, churches and businesses,” Jodi Perras, manager of Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign in Indiana, said in a statement.
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