Dear Editor,
It may be a surprise to some, but Indiana is poised to lead the Midwest in the transition to clean energy as wind and solar energy become most cost-effective, reliable resources. But that transition cannot happen without homeowners, businesses, schools and local government as part of the solution.
Since 2004, Indiana has had net metering that requires utility companies to credit Hoosiers a fair market rate value for solar energy they generate and return to the grid. Thousands of Hoosiers have gone solar because they know they will be fairly compensated. Currently, surrounding states have policies in place that require utilities to pay solar customers that fair market rate. However, under current Indiana law net metering in Indiana is set to expire for new solar customers in 2022.
Luckily, my representative Rep. Tony Cook, introduced a bill that would help. HB 1394 would extend net metering for new solar owners until 2024. In a year when budgets are stretched critically thin by the pandemic, the bill also offers new flexibility to schools and local units of government seeking to reduce their costs with solar energy using a provision, commonly called “meter aggregation,” allowing these tax-supported entities to apply their net metering credits to multiple electric meters, thus making it easier to make a fiscally responsible solar investment.
Many schools and other government entities around the state are already seeing economic, education, and environmental benefits from investing in solar. Rep. Cook’s bill just makes sure more schools will be able to follow their lead.
We need to extend net metering this year to make sure homeowners and businesses have an economic reason to go solar—and to keep Indiana competitive in the Midwest. I urge all Hamilton County legislators to support HB 1394 and urge Speaker Todd Huston to give the bill a hearing. Solar panels allow for more than just energy freedom. They also power more than 3,000 jobs across our state each year. If there are fewer installations here, those jobs will go elsewhere.
Jodi Becker