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KY Public Service Commission Gets Hundreds of Comments on Solar Value

In 2018, Kentucky ranked 46th among the states for solar industry growth, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. (Adobe Stock)
In 2018, Kentucky ranked 46th among the states for solar industry growth, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. (Adobe Stock)
October 14, 2019

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Today, solar-energy advocates from across the state are hand-delivering hundreds of citizen comments to the Kentucky Public Service Commission, calling for fair rates for energy produced by solar panels. A bill signed by Gov. Matt Bevin earlier this year allows the commission to set rates for any solar power fed back to the electric grid beginning in 2020.

Kentucky Solar Industries Association president Matt Partymiller said the question now is what rates the public service commission will set.

"We look forward to working with the commission to arrive at a fair rate for Kentucky ratepayers and to ensure that solar is valued fairly as we move into a future that will include a lot more distributed generation,” Partymiller said.

Partymiller, who is a solar-panel installer, said utilities are likely to advocate for rates that are well below the actual value of solar.

Andy McDonald is a member of the Kentucky Solar Energy Society. He pointed out that if the commission reduces the compensation for using solar panels, it could discourage homeowners and small businesses from making the pricey initial investment.

"Currently under net metering, if you generate a kilowatt hour of energy back to the grid, you get a credit equal to one kilowatt hour - and so in the future, like at nighttime, when you consume energy from the grid, you can use that credit to offset your bill,” McDonald explained.

He added the commission's decision could also impact the state's solar industry, which employs more than 1,400 people. And he said input from Commonwealth residents is critical.

"They've said that they won't value comments that are just sent in by email the same as they will value comments that are submitted on paper,” McDonald said. “And so, we've been gathering comments from people on paper and will be delivering them to the Public Service Commission."

Tuesday is the deadline for Kentuckians to submit comments on net metering to the commission. A public hearing will be held in Frankfort on November 13.

Nadia Ramlagan, Public News Service - KY