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The Kentucky Solar Energy Society's mission is to promote the use of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and conservation in Kentucky through education, advocacy, networking, and demonstration of practical applications.

NEWS

KySES Q1 2021 Newsletter here

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People across Kentucky are using solar energy to power their homes, reduce their energy bills, and protect the environment! Take a tour across the state and learn their Kentucky Solar Stories! Click here to start the tour!

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May 9, 2021

The Kentucky Public Service Commission is about to issue a ruling on Net Metering

After more hearings and much testimony by expert witnesses, the PSC has announced it will issue a decision on net metering for homeowner solar systems by May 14.  So we will finally have a ruling very soon.  Results will be posted here.

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January 15, 2021

Kentucky Public Service Commission Issues Ruling in Kentucky Power Rate Case #2020-00174

Commission defers decision on net metering, while providing important victories for community advocates on some issues, setbacks on others.

On January 13, 2021, the Kentucky Public Service Commission issued its order in Kentucky Power Company rate case #2020-00174. In addition to proposing a 25% rate increase for their 165,000 residential customers in Eastern Kentucky, KPC was proposing changes to their net metering tariff which would have reduced the value of customer-generated solar energy by 75%. The Kentucky Solar Energy Society partnered with the Mountain Association and Kentuckians for the Commonwealth to intervene in this case to defend the value of solar net metering and argue for fair rates for KPC’s customers. We were represented by Tom FitzGerald of the Kentucky Resources Council. James Owen of Renew Missouri provided expert witness testimony.

Regarding Net Metering:

  • The Commission deferred a decision on KPC’s proposed changes to net metering until a consultant hired by the Commission can advise them on the issue. The PSC will issue a final ruling no later than May 14, 2021. They gave KPC the option of implementing their new net metering rates within 15 days of this order, with the risk that those rates might be overturned by the Commission’s final ruling.
  • We scored a victory as the Commission cited KPC’s lack of a cost of service study as a reason to reject their proposed net metering rates.
  • We scored another victory as the Commission rejected KPC’s argument that their “avoided cost” was the appropriate value for customer-generated solar energy.

Regarding other topics addressed in the rate case issues, the PSC agreed with us on many important issues. Here is what our efforts helped to achieve:

  • The PSC reduced the total revenue increase sought by Kentucky Power by 25 percent, from $70 million to $52 million. 
  • KPC was granted a 9.3% Return on Equity (ROE), lower than the 10.0% ROE they had requested.
  • The PSC denied the company’s plan to spend tens of millions of dollars on new, advanced meters (AMI), sparing customers from additional charges to pay for those upgrades. While we see potential value in AMI metering, KPC failed to demonstrate how they would use AMI to provide the most benefit to their customers. KPC had also proposed to immediately begin charging all customers for the AMI meters, even though the deployment would be spread over multiple years, leaving many customers paying for new meters years before having one installed on their home.
  • The PSC rejected Kentucky Power’s proposed “declining block rates” for residential customers, which would have provided lower rates to their highest energy users. KYSES and our allies pointed out that this approach discourages investments in energy efficiency and rooftop solar and punishes households who attempt to manage their energy bills by conserving energy. 

Unfortunately, the Commission approved KPC’s request to increase the monthly customer charge that all residential customers pay, from $14.00 per month to $17.50 per month. Residential energy rates were increased from 9.8 cents per kWh to 11 cents per kWh, a 12% increase compared with the 25% increase sought by the utility.

KYSES will continue to work with our allies as the Commission deliberates upon KPC’s net metering proposal. Meanwhile, we have turned our attention to LG&E/KU’s rate case (#2020-00349 and 00350). LG&E/KU have also proposed new net metering tariffs which would drop the value of customer-generated solar energy to the “avoided cost” rate (under 3 cents per kWh). KYSES is intervening in these cases, once again with our friends at the Mountain Association and Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, along with the Metropolitan Housing Coalition, and we are being represented by Tom FitzGerald of the Kentucky Resources Council.

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September 17, 2020

KYSES Newsletter for Q3-2020 Released - September 2020

September 16, 2020

Kentucky Model Solar Zoning Ordinance Published by Kentucky Resources Council

The Kentucky Resources Council has published a Model Solar Zoning Ordinance for Kentucky to assist communities with regulating the siting of solar energy facilities in their area. According to KRC, "this Model Solar Zoning Ordinance is based upon a review of best practices from across the United States and is tailored to meet the unique needs of Kentucky, with the goals of encouraging appropriate siting of solar facilities and protection of the correlative rights of landowners to the use and enjoyment of their lands."

The need for solar zoning ordinances in Kentucky has arisen as more than a dozen large, utility-scale solar facilities have been proposed and are in the development process in the Commonwealth. You can find the Kentucky Model Solar Zoning Ordinance here

Merchant solar electric plants greater than 10 MW in size and intended to sell power into wholesale power markets are required to seek review and approval before the Kentucky State Board on Electric Generation and Transmission Siting. The Siting Board is administered by the Public Service Commission. The Siting Board applications for all merchant solar facilities pending before the PSC can be found at the PSC website

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August 21, 2020

KySES Webinars

Visit our Event Page to view recordings of past webinars. 

Thursday, October 22 - Louisville’s 100% Renewable Energy Resolution

Presenters: Nancy Givens, Sam Avery, and Wallace McMullen of the 100% Renewable Energy Alliance of Louisville.

In February 2020 Louisville Metro Council voted in support of a resolution to meet 100% of Louisville’s energy needs with renewable energy. What are the details of the Resolution? How did local citizens get it passed? How will it be implemented? What lessons were learned to help other cities move to 100% renewable energy?

Friday, August 28, 2020 - Status of Net Metering & Rooftop Solar in Kentucky: How Kentucky’s Solar Industry is Handling the Pandemic, Economic Crisis, & Net Metering Uncertainty

Presenters: Matt Partymiller, Solar Energy Solutions

John Cotton, Wilderness Trace Solar

Moderator: Andy McDonald, Apogee - Climate & Energy Transitions

Wednesday, September 23, 2020 - Cincinnati’s 100% Renewables Commitment & the Green Cincinnati Plan

Presenter: Oliver Kroner, Sustainability Coordinator, City of Cincinnati

In 2018 the City of Cincinnati committed to a community-wide transition to renewable energy by 2035. Last year they announced plans to build a 100 MW solar facility to supply the City’s electricity needs, the nation’s largest City-led solar project. Oliver Kroner, the City’s Sustainability Coordinator, will discuss these efforts and their Green Cincinnati Plan.


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August 7, 2020

Kentucky Power Company Files First Rate Case Seeking to Change Net Metering Terms - KySES Joins Other Community Advocates to Formally Intervene in Rate Case

On May 29, 2020, Kentucky Power Company (KPC) filed a Notice of Intent with the Public Service Commission to open a general rate case. Their filing includes proposed changes to their net metering tariff which would sharply reduce the value of solar generation for their future net metering customers. It would place solar customers into a complicated time-of-use rate structure and would greatly under-value excess solar generation fed back to the utility.  

KPC's filing also proposes large rate increases for residential customers - a 25% increase to both the fixed customer charge (rising to $17.50 per month) and the energy charge (rising to $0.12/kWh). During this time of economic crisis, with so many families struggling through the coronavirus pandemic, KYSES stands opposed to these large rate increases. 

KySES will be co-intervening in the rate case along with the Mountain Association and Kentuckians For The Commonwealth (KFTC) and will be represented by Tom FitzGerald of the Kentucky Resources Council. Our petition to intervene was approved by the PSC on August 5, 2020, despite KPC's motion objecting to KySES' intervention. 

KySES has joined the Mountain Association and KFTC to intervene in the rate case to advocate for fair solar net metering policies and reasonable rates for the customers of Kentucky Power. Formally intervening in the rate case allows KySES and its partners to fully engage in the ratemaking process with testimony, discovery, and cross-examination.

This is the first rate case filed by a Kentucky electric utility since passage of the controversial anti-net metering bill in 2019. SB100 directed the PSC to determine the net metering rates used to compensate solar customers, a measure solar advocates fear could lead to the devaluation of customer-owned solar energy and the suppression of Kentucky’s emerging rooftop solar market. As the first rate case that will address changes to net metering, this case may establish precedent for how the PSC will handle the net metering issue for all of the state’s regulated utilities.

KySES member Seth Long is a resident of Ermine, Kentucky, the Executive Director of HOMES Inc., and a net metering customer of Kentucky Power. “Solar energy has enormous potential for the people of Eastern Kentucky,” said Mr. Long. “The cost of solar power has fallen 80% to 90% in the last 10 years, making it accessible to so many more people. Rooftop solar could help so many people in our area get control of their rapidly rising energy bills and gain some financial security. That’s why I am so disappointed with Kentucky Power’s proposal to cut the compensation rate for net metering and undermine their customer’s ability to benefit from solar energy.”

Concerned citizens may file public comments in this rate case. To send comments via email, include the case number (2020-00174) within the subject line and send to psc.info@ky.gov. Provide your full name and place of residence in the body of the e-mail. You can also mail your comment: Public Service Commission, 211 Sower Boulevard, Post Office Box 615, Frankfort, Kentucky, 40602-0615. Public comments, although accepted at any time, are suggested to be sent by the hearing scheduled for November 18-19, 2020. Case documents may be found at: https://psc.ky.gov/PSC_WebNet/ViewCaseFilings.aspx?case=2020-00174  

For more information, please contact Andy McDonald, vice-chair, Kentucky Solar Energy Society, at 502-699-2553 or Andy@ApogeeClimate.org.


April 30, 2020 

Net Metering still available in Kentucky - no utility action to change rates, so far. 

The Kentucky legislature passed SB 100 in 2019 to make changes to net-metering regulations. However, changes to net metering will not go into effect until the Public Service Commission (PSC) rules on rate cases brought by each electric utility. Therefore, full retail-rate net metering is still available in Kentucky for any systems installed before utility rate cases are resolved.


SB 100 allows utilities to recover their costs associated with net metering from net metering customers and directs the PSC to rule on how this should be done. These changes will be addressed through rate cases brought before the PSC by electric utilities.  


SB 100 allows all systems installed before the new utility rates are established to be grandfathered for 25 years under the existing net metering rules and receive full retail credit for excess power supplied to the grid. 


As of April 30, 2020, no utilities have filed rate cases to change their net metering tariffs, therefore Kentuckians still have access to traditional net metering. 



February 12, 2020

'Energy for the People Lobby Day' 

The 2020 'Energy for the People' lobby day was a real success.  50 people came to Frankfort to lobby legislators.  Many participants reported worthwhile conversations with legislators at the end of the day.


But, despite our best efforts, HB 323, which would have fixed problems with last year's SB100, was not acted on by the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee.  Calls and messages to the House leadership and to the Republican members of that committee urging them to take action were to no avail this year.


 


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