Don’t block the sun! That’s the message from protesters unhappy with a bill moving through the Indiana statehouse that would lower prices utilities pay to people selling their excess energy.
The Sierra Club hosted a “Save Solar” protest Monday.
Opponents of Senate bill 309 say new adopters of solar energy like small businesses, churches and individuals will get less of a return on their investment. The bill would lower prices for utilities buying the excess energy.
Any person or entity with already installed solar panels or wind turbines would get a higher rate than new adopters, at least for another 30 years. If installed in the next five years, sellers would get a higher rate until 2032. After 2022, new generators would get a smaller incentive.
Bethlehem United Church of Christ recently installed a 54 kilowatt solar ray on its campus.
Rev. Mark Sirnec says, “We’re concerned that the new legislation that is being proposed is going to make it difficult for other folks to install solar rays and get a fair return for their investments.”
The church has used the solar energy for three months and has already saved more than a thousand dollars. The reverend anticipates it will meet 85% of the church’s energy needs.
Bill protesters, as in past rallies, marched to Vectren headquarters. The utility has come out in favor of the bill.
Proponents say the money paid to small generators is growing and translates to higher costs to customers if not changed. They say this is not an anti-solar bill and instead encourages alternative energy generation. They insist producers will be compensated fairly.
Vectren declined to comment on this rally.
The bill passed the Indiana Senate and moves to the House where it will be heard by the Utilities Committee Wednesday.
44News Reporter Heather Good has more below.