2017 TOP STORIES: Law makes residential solar less attractive

The Indiana General Assembly in April passed a controversial bill that would reduce reimbursement rates for rooftop solar users.

The legislation, which Gov. Eric Holcomb later signed, will change the way solar rooftop users are paid. Currently, people who feed surplus energy to the power grid are compensated at a retail rate (now about 11 cents a kilowatt hour) that helps pay off their investments.

Once the bill went into effect in July, new solar-panel owners could sell their electricity to the grid at the lower wholesale rate (about 3 cents a kilowatt hour), then buy back electricity they need at the higher retail rate.

The bill grandfathered in current owners of rooftop solar panels for 30 years.

Environmentalists criticized the legislation, known as Senate Bill 309, saying it would remove incentives for those who might want to invest in solar energy.

Utilities supported the bill, saying the current system burdened customers without solar panels—in effect, forcing them to pay a higher share of the cost of maintaining the grid.•

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