Bacon: Energy savings for nonprofits

Posted by: Victoria Klimczak  | Friday, January 25, 2019 4:57 pm

Renewable energy sources give Hoosier homeowners, businesses, local units of government and others the opportunity to generate their own clean and efficient power. Oftentimes, solar and wind power generators can produce more energy than is needed. Net metering gives consumers the opportunity to sell excess renewable power generated at their homes or businesses back to utility providers. This can help offset the cost of electricity bought from the utility, as well as the cost of purchasing and installing these power sources.

This session, I authored legislation to update Indiana’s net metering guidelines to benefit tax-supported utility customers, which are public entities funded by taxpayers, like school corporations, public libraries and local units of government.

Under current law, there are caps on net metering that limit how much generated electricity can be sold back to utilities at the retail rates. When a customer in a net metering contract reaches the limit on how much electricity can be credited at the retail rate, any excess electricity generated beyond that will then be credited at a lower rate.

Under this legislation, tax-supported electric customers could use capital equipment funds to purchase solar panels to offset their electric bills. These public entities could then be credited by the utility at the retail rate for any excess electricity produced by the panels, which means the customer can sell the electricity at the same rate as if they were purchasing it. By ensuring that public entities can sell the electricity back at this rate, they will not have to negotiate prices with the utilities – saving tax dollars spent on electric services.

According to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, almost 70 Indiana schools participated in net metering in 2017 and produced a higher kilowatt capacity than any customer class. This legislation would help more schools, local governments and libraries benefit from renewable energy and save tax dollars through net metering.

As always, I encourage you to share your thoughts and feedback on this legislation as it moves through the process. Contact me with any input or questions at h75@iga.in.gov or 317-232-9643.

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State Rep. Ron Bacon (R-Chandler) represents House District 75, 
which includes portions of Warrick, Pike and Spencer counties.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo.