• Tiana Starks

Letter: Bill would hurt solar energy

Updated: Jul 13

A recent letter by Mark Maassel, president of Indiana Energy Association, requires corrections to his distortions and exaggerations. Senate Bill 309 was written specifically to benefit commercial electric power utilities in Indiana, and it makes solar power unaffordable for most Hoosiers. By weakening and eventually eliminating net metering, SB 309 makes solar energy uneconomical for most residential customers while giving commercial utilities the benefits of solar energy production. It will also result in loss of hundreds to thousands of Hoosier jobs in the (currently) fast growing solar energy industry.

Solar power generated by customers benefits everyone by reducing pollution, saving huge amounts of fresh water, and smoothing peak power demand. Everyone, including solar power generators, pays a fixed charge to cover costs that do not depend on power consumption. Utilities actually want to increase this fixed charge for all customers to maintain profits regardless of electricity use. This will hit lower and fixed income families hardest because they use 14 percent to 16 percent less power than the average consumer.

SB 309 assures utilities a permanent monopoly on electricity generation and high profits. It’s very unfair to prevent private citizens from recovering their costs for solar panels while utilities receive the benefits of residential solar power. The current break-even point for private solar power costs is about 20 years, and this will be eliminated by SB 309. Unfortunately it’s easy for wealthy power companies to influence politicians who will pass legislation to ensure their profits at the expense of the citizens of Indiana.

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