Energy freedom in Kentucky is its infancy, yet it is in peril. Considering that solar is the most viable renewable source for us, legislators passed a net metering law under which utilities purchase excess energy from customers who generate power from renewable sources such as solar panels up to 30 kilowatts (kW) in capacity. This law benefits both sides.
Defeated last year, utilities have mounted another campaign to dismantle the current net metering law. They claim that solar customers pose a burden because the utility gives them credit for extra day-time power which the utility resells to the next door neighbor at full price. This arrangement, which some utilities are calling a “subsidy” to their customers with independent solar systems, is actually a gift to the utility. Solar panels produce power during the day-time hours, and they are working at their peak during the “peak demand” hours. This power, if not used on the spot, flows into the grid and is worth (according to LG&E-KU) 23 cents per kilowatt-hour at peak times. The off-peak power solar customers use after the sun goes down is worth 6 cents per kilowatt-hour. So, net-meter customers trade power that’s valued three times more than the power they receive to just remain connected to the grid. This is hardly a subsidy to the net-metered customers; indeed, net-metering subsidizes the utilities. Net-metered customers are willing to participate in this arrangement in order to encourage more residential solar installations and support the good-paying jobs this emerging industry creates. Kentucky Solar Energy Society urges everyone to contact their legislators, and ask them to leave the current net-metering law in place.
Department of English and Theatre
Eastern Kentucky University