Photo voltaic advocates mentioned the Indiana legislature helps utilities eradicate their competitors by making impartial photo voltaic much less inexpensive. That is the message of this yr’s Renewable Vitality Day on the Statehouse.
Minutes earlier than the occasion, Democratic state representatives tried once more and didn’t cross amendments that might make photo voltaic extra inexpensive for Hoosiers.
One would have created a photo voltaic neighborhood program — permits residents to spend money on a photo voltaic venture as a gaggle. One tries to reverse a latest Indiana Supreme Court docket determination that mentioned CenterPoint Vitality could use a special methodology to calculate photo voltaic prospects’ payments, lowering the credit they obtain.
Whereas rooftop photo voltaic development is gradual in Indiana, utility-scale photo voltaic farms will double the state’s complete photo voltaic capability from 2020 to 2021. Rep. Matt Pierce (D-Bloomington) mentioned utilities do not thoughts renewables in the event that they get a return on them.
“They’re much less enthusiastic about us making our personal investments and changing into extra power impartial,” he mentioned.
READ MORE: With a lot help, who desires to part out rooftop photo voltaic incentives? Reply: Indiana provides
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Bob Rice is the power supervisor for Hamilton Southeastern Colleges in Fishers. He mentioned the district used much less electrical energy final yr than the yr earlier than, however paid extra for power due to greater utility payments.
In 2019, the district put in photo voltaic panels at three of its colleges. Rice mentioned it’s estimated that the district has saved $310,000 in power prices in these colleges.
“Taxpayer cash going into lecture rooms, being repurposed to teach our college students and never going to utility firms to purchase energy,” he mentioned.
Photo voltaic advocates mentioned favoring utility-scale photo voltaic additionally prevents small photo voltaic companies in Indiana from rising.
Patrick Regan is the president of Crossroads Photo voltaic, a photo voltaic panel manufacturing firm in South Bend. He mentioned he would solely create jobs within the state to the extent that Hoosiers would purchase the corporate’s photo voltaic panels.
“And if we limit that and we give all the facility and affect to the utilities, you people are going to have a tough time shopping for photo voltaic panels,” Regan mentioned.
Indiana’s utilities are among the many prime lobbying teams within the state. For the reason that starting of 2017, Indiana utilities and utility teams have spent greater than $3.5 million on lobbyists to signify their pursuits.
Over time, the utilities additionally donated $70,000 to the chairman of the Senate Utilities Committee’s marketing campaign and $50,000 to the utility committee chair for the Home.
Contact reporter Rebecca at firstname.lastname@example.org or comply with her on Twitter at @beckythiele.