Events
Vote NO on SB309 Anti-Solar Bill
2017 Legislative Session
SB 309 - Distributed Generation - anti-solar bill
Bill Origin: SB 309 was written by the Utility Lobby, the Indiana Energy Association
Author: SB 309 is being carried by Sen. Brandt Hershman (R)
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Protect solar rights and rooftop solar businesses and jobs in Indiana

Generating your own solar power is key to building a more sustainable community for a variety of reasons including energy freedom, energy choice, energy independence and being self-sufficient.

Homeowners, businesses, schools, congregations, and municipalities have the right to harvest the sunshine on their own property and get fair credit for excess energy contributed to the grid. That's what Net Metering does and 43 states have it, including Indiana. However, the Indiana Utility lobby (IEA) is pushing hard to kill Net Metering in Indiana.

As amended in the House and Senate, SB309 (1) ends net metering in 2022, (2) sets an arbitrary rate of 1.25 x wholesale and (3) allows utilities to impose fees and charges on solar customers. As you can see, Kentucky and Illinois have recently taken a pause on these provisions. Indiana would be wise to do the same thing.

  • Kentucky recently pulled its anti-solar bill -  "...Facing a hearing room packed with solar power supporters, Senate Energy Chairman Jared Carpenter, R-Berea, pulled his SB 214 ... He said he worked ... to reach a compromise that would satisfy solar power advocates, who prefer the current arrangement for selling their surplus power to utilities, and the utility industry, which says it needs more money from solar customers to maintain the power grid.  Finally, it just seemed wisest to postpone any action for now, he said."  Kentucky Senate Bill 214 has some similarities to SB309 in that it opens the door to fees and charges for solar customers which are currently prohibited by Indiana's current net metering rule.
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  • Illinois Energy Bill passes Without Anti-Solar and Anti-Consumer Provisions -  "...The removal of demand charges and reinstatement of net metering in SB 2814 happened in the wake of a backlash from the public and consumer advocates, including Governor Rauners office, calling demand rates insane rates..."  SB309 includes provisions end net metering and allow utilities to add fees and charges to solar customer - these provisions were withdrawn in Illinois."

 

SB309 will discourage Hoosiers from investing in solar, kill Indiana's emerging free market solar sector and the jobs that go with it.

  • Small business owner Bob McKinney from Johnson-Melloh, a solar business in Indianapolis testified this bill will have "...dramatic affects on jobs in Indiana and the people that invested in these systems."  He asked that instead of arbitrarily setting the rate at wholesale plus 25% through legislation, consider allowing time to gather the proper information and data on the costs and benefits of solar on net metering at the IURC.
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  • According to the Brookings Institute "... the local utility in Nevada successfully wielded the cost-shift theory last winter to... drastically curtail the state’s net-metering payments, prompting Solar City, Sunrun, and Vivint Solar—the state’s three largest providers of rooftop panels—to leave the Nevada market entirely... New residential solar installation permits plunged 92 percent..."
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  • Indiana is proof of country's solar boom "...The Solar Foundation produced 50 state-level fact sheets and released an analysis of the economic impact of the solar labor market nationwide.... “The solar industry is generating well-paying jobs everywhere from Detroit to Miami to Salt Lake City, and in states from Ohio to Texas to South Carolina,” Andrea Luecke, president and executive director of The Solar Foundation, said. “America’s solar energy boom adds tens of billions of dollars to our economy each year, all while providing an affordable, reliable, and local energy source.”  Indiana has 63 solar companies, a surprising number considering that in Indiana solar workers comprise only 1 percent of the 260,077 total solar jobs across the county. Indiana ranks 28th in the number of solar jobs available, 30th for solar jobs per capita, 21st for installed solar capacity and 37th for average electricity prices ranked highest to lowest.... Offering the most solar jobs in Indiana in 2016 was Allen County at 299. Following were 332 in Marion County, 236 in St. Joseph County, 156 in Lake County and 145 in Hamilton County. Indiana produced 1,133 new solar jobs in 2016, 72 percent solar job growth and employed veterans into 6 percent of its workforce..."

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SB309 Sets Arbitrary Rate below True Market Value

Senate Bill 309 would take away the rights of homes, businesses, congregations and municipalities to get the full fair credit for energy contributed to the grid. In his remarks, Senator Hershman said he arbitrarily set the rate at 1.25 x wholesale to recognize solar is cleaner than coal. But solar has many other benefits, and 1.25 x wholesale is significantly below its true market value. Studies in other states have shown the market value of rooftop solar is 3 to 4 times the wholesale rate - in some cases more than retail.

Setting rates without data is not prudent and results in an artificial rate created by policy. If the compensation rate is set too low, it will encourage people to go to solar plus batteries.  Ratemaking is complex and should be done at the IURC by experts based on data.

SB309 Creates a Subsidy for the Utilities

This anti-solar bill effectively shifts the economic benefits of free solar energy away from the free market and gives it exclusively to the monopoly utilities.

An analysis from the Columbus Community Solar Initiative shows the proposed arbitrary rate of 1.25 x wholesale actually creates a subsidy for the utilities.

SB309 Allows for additional fees and charges, even for grandfathered customers

SB309 was amended to allow Utilities to impose additional fees and charges which would make rooftop solar unaffordable for most homeowners, businesses, congregations, schools and municipalities.  SB309 was also amended to grandfather existing solar customers until 2047, and grandfather customers who install their solar systems before 2022 until 2032 (see below).  However, according to a legal analysis by Citizen's Action Coalition, future and even grandfathered solar customers would be subject to additional fees and charges.  This has been a big problem in many states.

SB309 Incentivizes customers to go off the grid

The cost of solar panels continue to drop making this renewable energy technology an economic opportunity similar to innovations such as cell phones and personal computers which have transformed the world.  Net Metering protects the free market for Indiana to take full advantage of this economic opportunity and remain competitive with other states.  Instead, as the price of solar and battery storage decrease, this bill would encourage solar customers to defect from the grid instead of remaining connected to the grid where they can provide benefits, including low cost electricity during summer peak periods, upgrade deferrals and congestion relief.

Solar panels and battery storage are moving quickly, and because of this we should step back from making premature and arbitrary changes to net metering at this time, especially when there is no data to show a subsidy even exists and no data to support the proposed 1.25 x wholesale rate.   We urge the legislature to proceed with caution as SB309 will stifle the solar industry in Indiana.  But, in the long run as free market technologies continue to drive investment, the undervalued arbitrary rate and added fees and charges for solar customers will actually encourage those consumers who can afford it to cut the cord and go off the grid.

The Subsidy Issue

The fundamental justification for this bill is based on a false claim by the electric utility lobby that net metering results in a subsidy, but they have never shown any evidence, nor have they quantified what the impact to non-solar ratepayers is, except to say it's less than penny.

  • In his testimony opposing SB309, Barry Goldwater Jr offered a conservative perspective saying that the utilities have done a great job of labeling net metering a subsidy, but argued that net metering is NOT a subsidy, and the true value of solar should be studied at the IURC. Goldwater said rooftop solar is an innovation and technology in its infancy that we should be supporting.    

  • Editorial from the Journal Gazette - "...Barry Goldwater Jr. framed the bill as a case of utility companies trying to stand in the way of history. “They fear competition,” he told the committee. “They see the writing on the wall. There is an energy revolution going on.”...As at a previous hearing in a Senate committee, speaker after speaker implored lawmakers to ask the experts at the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to study the complex and far-reaching questions SB 309 so arbitrarily and hastily tries to answer."

The fact that the utilities are seeking to end Net Metering through the General Assembly, instead of going to the IURC where they would be required to show evidence to support their claim, suggests that they do not have the evidence.  To the contrary, studies in other states have shown there is no subsidy and that distributed solar actually provides a net benefit to the utility.

  • Rooftop solar: Net metering is a net benefit, Brookings Institute -  "...utility interests have sought to...roll back net-metering provisions, arguing they are a net cost to the overall electricity system... [But] regulators in at least 10 states had conducted studies to develop methodologies to value distributed generation and net metering, while other states conducted less formal inquiries, ranging from direct rate design or net-metering policy changes to general education of decision makers and the public. And there is a degree of consensus...A growing number show that net metering benefits all utility customers."

 

Fixed Charges

Solar customers have testified that not only did they invest their own money to generate their own electricity to offset their own load, they also pay on their electric bill the same fixed fees to support the grid like everyone else.

Pros and Cons of Net Metering Should be Analyzed at the IURC

This bill is fundamentally about who owns the economic benefits of free energy from the sun.  We believe it's in the state's best interest to have the pros and cons of Net Metering in Indiana properly evaluated by experts at the IURC as other states have done.  Rates should NOT be arbitrarily set by legislators.

Why would conservative legislators support a bill that protects monopolies and violates free market principles?

The utility lobby claims that solar customers do not pay their fair share to support the grid and are subsidized by non-solar customer, but have NEVER shown any evidence to support this claim. Why aren't legislators asking for this evidence?

To resolve these complex regulatory issues, the pros and cons of Net Metering should be studied and analyzed by the experts at the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission - as other states have done.  If the utilities have evidence to prove their claim, the IURC may revise or repeal the existing net metering rule accordingly.

Help defend your solar rights to keep net metering for fair credit.

Help protect your solar rights, and rooftop solar businesses and jobs in Indiana

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ANTI-SOLAR BILL MOVES TO GOVERNOR'S DESK
4/11/17 -  SB 309 passed out of the Senate with a 37-11 vote.   Next, the bill moves on to the governor's desk, so please reach out right away.

URGENT:  Please ask the governor to veto SB309 to protect solar rights, businesses and jobs, and instead direct the IURC to study the pros and cons of Net Metering.

Gov. Eric Holcomb
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
(317) 232-4567

John Hammond, Energy Policy
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SB309 will discourage Hoosiers from investing in solar, kill Indiana's emerging free market solar sector and the jobs that go with it.  This bill opposes two pillars of the governor’s agenda to 1) cultivate a strong and diverse economy by growing Indiana as a magnet for jobs, and 2) develop a 21st century skilled and ready workforce.  Why would conservative leaders support a bill that protects monopolies and violates free market principles?  This issue is best dealt with by experts at the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission as other states have done.

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ANTI-SOLAR BILL RUSHED TO FULL SENATE VOTE
4/6/17 -  SB 309 was rushed to a Senate vote after Senator Hershman, the bill's author, concurred with minor amendments made in the House.

Please contact as soon as possible, and urge him/her to vote NO on SB309 to protect solar rights, businesses and jobs, and direct the IURC to study the costs and benefits of Net Metering.

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ANTI-SOLAR BILL PASSED THE HOUSE, GOES BACK TO SENATE
4/4/17 - SB309 cleared the House with a vote of 56-43.  All the Ds and 13 Rs voted NO, but it wasn't enough to stop the bill. We needed just 8 more Rs to stand up for solar rights, businesses and jobs.  The good news is that both Carmel representatives This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it voted against this bill.  Please be sure to thank them!!!  Unfortunately, other Hamilton County represented voted for SB309 which ends net metering and will stifle rooftop solar business and jobs.  The bill goes back to the Senate for a vote.

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2ND READING AMENDMENTS NOT ALLOWED
4/3/17 -  2nd reading amendments on SB309 were not allowed today, which I find very confusing, especially since there were so many.  Why would legislators be prevented from introducing amendments to improve the bill?  Does the utility lobby have that strong a hold on the statehouse?
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ANTI-SOLAR BILL CLEARS HOUSE COMMITTEE
3/29/17 -  SB 309 passed out of the House Utilities, Energy & Telecommunications Committee by a vote of 8-5.  (see video archive).

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ANTI-SOLAR BILL AMENDED IN HOUSE COMMITTEE
3/22/17 -  SB 309 was heard for over 6 hours on March 22nd by the House Utilities, Energy & Telecommunications Committee in the House Chambers (see video archive).  Like the Senate hearing last month, there was a huge turnout against SB309 to protect solar rights, including Barry Goldwater, Jr.  Many more people opposed the bill than supported it.
The bill was amended  in committee to:
  • Extend the grandfathering deadline for installing solar power from July 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2017.  Customers with solar systems installed before the deadline would be grandfathered until 2047.
  • Allow the grandfathering process and the associated Net Metering agreement to be transferred to the property in the case of sale of the solar property.
  • Have public school corporations considered for interim summer study.

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BILL PASSES OUT OF SENATE AND SENATE UTILITIES COMMITEE
2/27/17 -  SB 309 passed out of the Senate Utilities Committee with an 8-2 vote and cleared the Senate with a 39-9 vote.

Despite receiving lots of calls, emails and testimony from angry constituents opposing SB309, almost every Republican senator voted for this bill.  Senator John Ruckelshaus was the only Hamilton County Republican to vote against the bill.  Unfortunately, Hamilton County Senators Delph, Kenley, Merritt and Buck all voted for SB309.  Why would conservative legislators support a bill that protects monopolies, violates free market principles and would kill the Indiana solar industry?

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ANTI-SOLAR BILL AMENDED IN SENATE COMMITTEE
2/9/17 -  SB309, was heard in Senate Utilities Committee in over 4 hours of testimony (see video archive).  There was a large turnout to protect solar rights.  Many more people spoke against the bill than supported it.  The most salient point made by the opposition is that the Utilities have never ever provided any data to support their claim that net metering is a subsidy.  Over and over again opponents testified that they are in fact paying all the same fees everyone else pays to support the grid.  Over and over again experts testified that studies done in other states have shown that excess solar energy provides a net benefit to the grid that is actually worth more than the net metering retail rate -- solar is NOT a subsidy.  The bill was amended to get rid of the outrageous Buy All-Sell All provision, but it still eliminates Net Metering.

The bill was amended to:

  • Remove the Buy All - Sell All provision
  • End Net Metering in 2022, instead of 2027 in the original bill.
  • Sets compensation for excess solar energy at 1.25 times wholesale rates, about 30% of retail. This delays the return on investment for rooftop solar, from about 10 years at retail rate, to 20-25 years, and will discourage most homeowners, businesses, schools, churches and governments from investing in solar.  The original bill was set for 1 times wholesale.
  • Grandfather existing solar customers, however it is not transferrable in case of death or sale of property.  Customers with solar systems before July 2017 would be grandfathered until 2047.  Customers with systems installed after July 2017 and before July 2022 would be grandfathered until 2032.  No Net Metering after 2022.   The original bill did not grandfather any customers.
  • Sets a limit to the number customers who can install rooftop solar to 1.5% of peak summer load, and sets aside 15% for agriculture and 40% for residential.  The current Net Metering rule has a 1% target with no set asides. But as you can see, we are nowhere close to the 1% tarfet, and it's highly unlikely we would reach the 1.5% limit by 2022 when NM ends.  They could have set the limit to 20% and it wouldn't have made a difference.   The original bill did not set a limit.

Utility                               Installed as of 2016          Current NM Target
Indiana Michigan Power............0.02 %...........................1.00 %
IPL.............................................0.06 %...........................1.00 % 
NIPSCO.....................................0.08 %...........................1.00 % 
Duke Energy..............................0.10 %...........................1.00 % 
Vectren.......................................0.11 %...........................1.00 %

 


ANTI-SOLAR BILL INTRODUCED

2/2/17 -  The utility lobby has introduced a bill to kill the rooftop solar industry in Indiana again this session.  SB309 would permenantly ban Net Metering and replace it with Buy All-Sell All This bill tramples on Energy Freedom, infringes on your private property rights, and violates fundamental free market principles. They want to kill the competition by doing away with the net metering rule.  Without a fair net metering rule, solar is less affordable.  Attacks on solar are happening all over the country. Click here to see the IEA's unsuccessful attack on rooftop solar in 2015. SB 309 is much more extreme, please see Key Facts below.

 

WHAT'S NEXT?
SB 309 is scheduled for a full House vote as early as April 3rd.   Please urge your your State Representative to vote NO on SB309 to protect your solar rights.

 

TAKE ACTION NOW!
1) Please take a minute to urge your state representative to vote NO on SB 309 to protect your solar rights.

2) Click here to find your State Representative

3) You can also click here and scroll down to see listing of Hamilton County State Representatives and Senators

4) SB 309 violates free market principles and tramples on Energy Freedom and Choice. SB309 would make solar power prohibitively expensive for Hoosiers, and squash Indiana's growing free market solar industry.   Let them know why this is important to you and be sure to include your name and address. Click here for additional information.

 

KEY FACTS ABOUT SB309 AS AMENDED

  1. SB 309 was amended to ban Net Metering in 2022, instead of 2027 in the original bill.  Net Metering makes investment in solar technology affordable for Hoosiers.  Solar systems installed after July 1, 2022 would be prohibited from Net Metering. They would not be allowed to received retail-price credit for excess solar energy contributed to the grid, and would instead receive only 1.25 times the wholesale rate.  This delays the return on investment from about 10 years to about 20-25 years, making it very difficult for the average homeowner, business, school, church or government to invest in solar technology.   

    The bill was also amended in the Senate Utilities Committee to grandfather solar systems installed prior to July 1, 1017. These existing solar customers would receive retail credit for excess solar energy until 2047.  In addition, systems installed between July 1, 2017 and July 1, 2022 would be allowed to Net Meter until 2032.
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    The House Utilities Committee further amended the bill to extend the grandfathering deadline for installing solar power from July 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2017.  Customers with solar systems installed before the deadline would be grandfathered until 2047.  The House committee also amended the bill to allow the grandfathering process and the associated Net Metering agreement to be transferred to the property in the case of sale of the solar property.
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  2. .The bill mandates Buy-All, Sell-All which prohibits solar owners from using any of their own solar power, requiring them instead to "Buy-All" the electricity they use from their Utility and  "Sell-All" by delivering 100% of their solar power to the grid.  Solar owners would be prohibited from receiving the benefit of their own private investment in solar technology on their own private property. No other state has mandatory Buy All-Sell All. The Buy All-Sell All provision was removed in the amended bill.
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  3. The bill goes on to dictate what utilities would pay for your solar power.  In a move that goes around IURC's rate-making authority and process, this bill mandates the IURC to fix the compensation rate at the Utility's avoided costs/wholesale rate, far below fair market value that grossly undervalues the benefits local generation provides to the grid. Read this report on the value of solar.   But wait, the utilities wrote the bill, so really the utilities are dictating to themselves, that by law they'll only pay you wholesale for your solar. The amended bill increased the compensation rate to 1.25 times Utility's average marginal price/wholesale rate, roughly 4 cents per KWhr.
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  4. SB 309 profoundly violates free market principles. It enshrines into law that Utilities are authorized to profit from your private solar investment by paying you wholesale rates, about 2-4 cents, and turning around and selling to your neighbor at full retail rates, about 11-16 cents per kilowatt-hour.  It's like telling farmers, they can grow corn, but they have to sell it all at pre-fixed, below market rates, and must buy any corn they use at full retail rate, while the utility sells your corn to your neighbor at full retail price.  SB309 authorizes the Utility in effect to confiscate your private property, profit from your private investment in solar without fair compensation. Taking a broader view, mandatory Buy All - Sell All and price the fixing below fair market value might violate the 5th amendment of the US Constitution: “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
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  5. So what's in Indiana's best interest? Indiana needs to diversify its energy portfolio which includes supporting clean energy and clean energy jobs!  But, SB309 would make home-grown clean energy unaffordable and kill Indiana's emerging rooftop solar sector and jobs.  In a recent IBJ article, "Employment in the U.S. solar business last year grew 12 times faster than overall job creation... Indiana is home to more than 72 solar companies employing 1,567 people who design, engineer, install and repair solar panels."  But SB309 would eviscerate these jobs along with expected growth in the solar sector. Case in point, new residential solar installations plunged 92% in Nevada after drastically curtailing its net-metering policy, prompting Solar City, Sunrun, and Vivint Solar—the state’s three largest providers of rooftop panels—to leave the Nevada market entirely. Indiana lawmakers might as well hang a banner on the statehouse saying "Solar Jobs Not Wanted in Indiana."
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  6. Why are Utilities lobbying for changes that would kill rooftop solar in Indiana when there's no problem to fix. Let's get real! The current Net Metering Rule already protects Utilities by limiting the number of customer-owned generation to a measly target of 1% of Summer Peak Load. Other states have higher targets.  According to the IBJ article, Indiana utilities are nowhere close to their target.

    Utility Installed... Target
    Indiana Michigan Power............
    IPL.............................................
    NIPSCO.....................................
    Duke Energy..............................
    Vectren .......................................
    0.02 %
    0.06 %
    0.08 %
    0.10 %
    0.11 %
    1.00 %
    1.00 %
    1.00 %
    1.00 %
    1.00 %
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  7. Net Metering should be handled at the IURC, NOT the Statehouse. While it's true that the increase in solar raises tricky issues for Utilities, why rush disruptive changes through the statehouse?  The IURC is the state body that has the expertise, resources and time to examine complicated ratemaking issues (like net metering and distributed generation), and it's their job to do so on behalf of the public interest.  The IURC process for setting utility rates requires the utility to file a case and provide evidence which can be reviewed and refuted if necessary by stakeholders and intervening parties in a public hearing.  This process, which places the burden of proof on the Utility, was created in exchange for granting monopoly service territories to Utilities in order to protect the public against monopoly abuse.  But, SB 309 undermines the IURC's authority and undercuts the entire regulatory process which exists to protect Hoosiers.  There is no burden of proof at the statehouse, and it's not the right place for setting policy for regulated Utilities.
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  8. Rooftop Solar Provides More Benefits than Costs to the Grid Indiana utilities have claimed that net metering amounts to a subsidy and results in a cost shift to non-solar ratepayers.  However, they have never shown any evidence or data to support this claim.  In fact, states that have analyzed the costs and benefits of solar have found the opposite to be the case.  Many studies show that solar owners provide more benefits than costs to the grid.
    • Solar owners produce power at the most expensive time of day, during periods of peak demand. This reduces the need to purchase expensive electricity at peak times which reduces the cost for all ratepayers.
    • Producing power during peak demand also benefits the grid by avoiding or postponing the need for infrastructure investments, like a new power plant to handle peak loads. This benefits all ratepayers. For examples, PG&E (a California utility) was able to cancel 13 grid upgrade projects due to solar reducing peak load on the system, saving ratepayers $292M, IIRC.
    • When solar power is delivered to the local distribution grid, the nearest transformer passes it along to the nearest neighbors who enjoy using clean energy generated by the solar owner at their personal expense.  The neighbor does not pay extra for clean energy, and just pays the electric company at the normal retail rate.
    • Because distributed solar power is generated and consumed locally, solar owners reduce the load on transmission and distribution lines, which reduces the cost of the grid for all ratepayers.  Distributed solar offsets the extra electricity that the Utility's remote, centralized power plant would have had to produce due to electricity losses during transmission over power lines.
    • In addition to all of these benefits to the grid and ratepayers, by making a private investment in rooftop solar, solar owners are actually paying more than their fair share to support the grid.
    • Net metering is a billing arrangement between a solar customer and their utility.  When the solar panels produce more electricity than is needed, the excess electricity is delivered to the local distribution grid causing the meter to run backwards.  The solar customer pays the net difference between the energy that was used minus the energy that was delivered to the local grid. It amounts to an even exchange of energy.  Net metered customers do not get any special breaks, just like everyone else, they pay the full retail rate for the electricity they use from the grid, along with monthly customer charges, which cover the costs of overhead such as billing and meter-reading and do not receive any type of payment for energy delivered to the grid.  In effect, net metered customers are credited or compensated at retail rates for the energy and benefits they provide to the grid. Some studies have shown that distributed solar generation is worth more than retail and that net metering actually undervalues the benefits provided to the grid.

 

Comparison of versions of the bill

Original Bill

Senate Version

House Version

Bans Net Metering in 2027

Bans NM in 2022

Same as Senate

No grandfather provision.

Grandfathers solar systems installed prior to July 1, 1017. These existing solar customers would receive NM retail credit for excess solar energy until 2047.

Extends the grandfathering deadline for installing solar power from July 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2017.  Customers with solar systems installed before the deadline would be grandfathered until 2047.

 

 

Allows the grandfathering process and the associated Net Metering agreement to be transferred to the property in the case of sale of the solar property.

 

Systems installed between July 1, 2017 and July 1, 2022 would be allowed to Net Meter until 2032

Same as Senate

Mandates Buy-All, Sell-All which prohibits solar owners from using any of their own solar power, requiring them instead to "Buy-All" the electricity they use from their Utility and  "Sell-All" by delivering 100% of their solar power to the grid.  Solar owners would be prohibited from receiving the benefit of their own private investment in solar technology on their own private property. No other state has mandatory Buy All-Sell All.

Removes Buy All-Sell All provision.

Same as Senate

Dictates what utilities would pay for your solar power.  In a move that goes around IURC's rate-making authority and process, this bill mandates the IURC to fix the compensation rate at the Utility's avoided costs/wholesale rate, roughly 3 cents per KWhr, far below fair market value that grossly undervalues the benefits local generation provides to the grid. Read this report on the value of solar

Sets the compensation rate for excess solar to 1.25 times Utility's average marginal price/wholesale rate, roughly 4 cents per KWhr, still far below the fair market value of distributed generation.

Same as Senate

 
People's Climate March Indiana
Saturday, April 29, 2017
10:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
March Begins at Veteran's Memorial Plaza
550 N. Meridian  St. Indianapolis  46204
March Ends at PanAm Plaza, Indy VegFest
201 S Capitol Ave, Indianapolis  46225

To change everything, we need everyone!  On April 29th, there will be a People’s Climate March in Washington, DC, a continuation of the actions that happened last year, and the year before in NYC. 
https://peoplesclimate.org/

For those who can not travel to DC, a coalition is organizing a People's Climate March in Indiana. The connections between climate, poverty, education, workers, and justice will be illuminated for all Hoosiers to see. Meet up at the Veteran's Memorial Plaza at 10:30 a.m.  After speakers, we'll march to Indy VegFest at the PanAm Plaza.   
See FACEBOOK event.

To  demonstrate the breadth and depth of the climate movement, we need broad participation of many groups and voices.  Carmel Green Initiative is joining the march to stand in solidarit for our community and climate.

We want you to join our group to represent Carmel climate leadership!!! You don't have to live in Carmel to join our group.

Please RSVP so we know how many people to expect.  Also, when you RSVP, please let us know if you want to carpool. We'll see how many people are interested  in carpooling and how many drivers we have.  We will meet at the Meijer parking lot (1424 W Carmel Dr, Carmel, IN 46032).  The carpool will leave at 9:30 a.m. so we have enough time to find parking and meet up with others from Carmel.

CLICK HERE TO RSVP & CARPOOL BEFORE APRIL28, 5 PM.

 

 

 

 

 
2016 Mass Transit

Carmel Green Initiative continues to work with a broad coalition of municipalities, businesses and organizations in support of a regional mass transit system for Central Indiana.

Mass transit is necessary for achieving a more sustainable region as well as addressing a wide range of economic development and quality of life issues.  Central Indiana needs more energy efficient transportation options to retain young professionals and compete with peer communities for new businesses and jobs.

A 2013 Inside Indiana Business poll showed that mass transit is considered to be the #1 missing infrastructure by a significant margin.  What is missing from downtown Indianapolis?

More mass transit                           62.42%
More retail/restaurants                    17.88%
More housing                                   9.09%
More school options                         5.76%
More hotels                                      4.85%
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In 2014, the Indiana legislature passed a bill to give local citizens in Central Indiana the opportunity to have a vote on local funding of mass transit for their region. In order to put it on the ballot, the referendum must be approved by local county or township officials.
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  • Learn more about the regional mass transit at Indy Connect.
  • The IndyGO Marion County Transit Plan includes extended service hours, shorter wait times, and the creation of three rapid-transit bus lines.
  • The proposed Red Line is a rapid-transit bus line that would eventually run from Westfield to Greenwood.
  • The first phase of the Red Line runs from 66th Street in Broad Ripple to the University of Indianapolis, and is expected to cost $96 million to build, with $75 million coming from a federal grant.  Construction is expected to start in spring 2017, with routes open for service in fall 2018.    The annual operating funds are expected to be $6 million and would be covered through dedicated funding.
  • The funding rate is 0.25%.  That is 25 cents per $100.  Take the income x 0.0025 to get your personal  amount.
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2016 Referendum
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Marion County

 

Clay Township, Hamilton County
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Do you favor mass transit? Button_MassTransit_do_you_supportYour input will be shared with Indiana state legislators.
This  video elaborates on the benefits of mass transit for the central Indiana region.
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Sustainable Living Seminar-Climate Change in Indiana

Wednesday, September 27, 2017
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

Carmel Clay Public Library
55 4th Avenue Southeast, Carmel, IN 46032

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Our climate shapes our lives. The ways we build our roads, manage our farms, move our water, and use our energy are all influenced by our unique Indiana climate. But our climate has been changing, and it will continue changing in ways that will affect our productivity, our safety, and our livelihoods.

Experts from around the state, led by the Purdue Climate Change Research Center, have come together to synthesize the best available science on climate change impacts into a series of reports that discuss how a changing climate will affect state and local interests.

Key topics include public health, water resources, agriculture, infrastructure and more. A guest speaker from the Purdue Climate Change Research Center will highlight their key findings and what climate change means for Indiana. Come find out the top challenges facing Hoosiers and what, if any, opportunities might arise in these changing times.

 

 

 

 
Hamilton County Parks District
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MISSION MONARCH SERIES
Movie Night     MissionMonarch
Friday March 18, 2016
7 p.m.
Cook Creek Nature Center
Join the Hamilton County Park District for a special movie feature "The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies."  This event is for all ages. Free popcorn.
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Nature Kids - Preschool Gathering
Wednesday, April 13 & Thursday, April 14, 10:30 a.m.
Cook Creek Nature Center
Learn why monarchs need milkweed. Take home milkweed to start your own garden.
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Homeschool Hikers
Thursday, April 21, 1 p.m.
Cook Creek Nature Center
Bring your homeschoolers to learn why monarchs need milkweed. Take home milkweed to start your own garden.
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Celebrate Earth Day!
Saturday, April 23rd, 1-4 p.m.
Cool Creek Nature Center
Celebrate Earth Day by learning about monarchs and the importance of native plants to butterflies.  Learn how to grow milkweed and take home you own milkweed plants so you can jump-start your garden.  Celebrate monarchs with fun activities and crafts.  Staff will also be offering woodland wildflower hikes. Fun for all ages.

Habitat Creation Workshop
Monday, May 9th, 6-8 p.m.
Cool Creek Nature Center

Learn how you can create a habitat for Monarch butterflies in your yard, church, business, or neighborhood common area. Learn about how to plan your project, maintenance considerations, financial assistance that may be available, and for the first-hand experiences from a homeowners association that has converted turf grass to Monarch habitat.
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Butterfly Hikes
Bray Family Homestead
Saturday, May 21st, 1 p.m.
Free for all ages
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River Road Park
Wednesday, June 22, 2 p.m.
Free for all ages
 
Sustainable Living Seminar - Climatology Meets Foreign Policy

 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017             Filippelli_high_res_head_shot
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Carmel Clay Public Library
55 4th Avenue Southeast, Carmel, IN 46032

 

RSVP

Climatology Meets Foreign Policy:  One Hoosier’s Perspective on International Climate Action in the State Department

IUPUI climate scientist, Gabe Filippelli spent the 2013-14 academic year in Washington, DC as a Jefferson Science Fellow, where he served as a Senior Science Advisor at the State Department, working at the intersection of science and foreign policy.  Serving in the Department’s Office of Ocean and Polar Affairs, Filippelli had an unusual first-hand perspective on the creation of policy on global environmental issues, climate change, and international science cooperation.  He worked on a number of climate policy issues for the State Department, including drafting the first unequivocal statement from the U.S. on the severity of climate change in the Antarctic region and the need to develop monitoring systems to understand environmental vulnerabilities, as well as the first legally-binding agreement for science cooperation among Arctic nations.

Dori Chandler, Indianapolis Coordinator of the Citizen’s Climate Lobby, will also be talking about the similarities and differences between the Carbon Dividends plan presented by conservative leaders in congress to the Trump administration and the Citizen’s Climate Lobby Carbon Fee and Dividend plan.  Read about a revenue-neutral carbon tax and dividend plan presented by former Secretary of StateJames Baker and other prominent Republicans -

 

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

 

RSVP

 

 
Oppose SB 366 Threatens Hazardous Waste & Recycling Centers
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Position: CGI opposes SB 366.  
CGI supports policies that build a more sustainable community, and opposes the ones that don't.
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1) On Jan. 25,  SB 366 passed out of the Senate Environmental Affairs Committee with a 6-3 vote.  Disappointingly, Sen. Scott Schneider, the only Hamilton County senator on the committee, voted for this bill in committee.  To view the archived video of the hearing, click here and select Jan. 25th, testimony for SB 366 begins at 16:40 min.

2) On Feb. 1, SB 366 cleared the Senate 37-13. All Hamilton County senators supported this bill.

3) SB 366 crossed over to the second chamber.

4) On Feb. 24, SB 366 passed out of the House Environmental Affairs Committee with a 7-5 vote.  Rep. Donna Schaibley is the only Hamilton County representative on this committee and voted for this bill. Rep. Schaibley's contact info:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 317-232-9863.

What's Next: SB 366 moves to the House floor.  Watch live online.

Take Action: Please ask your representative to "VOTE NO" on SB 366 to protect our Household Hazardous Waste & Recycling Centers. Let him/her know why this is important to you and be sure to include your name and address.

About the bill: SB 366 lets counties eliminate its household hazardous waste and recycling centers, with no opportunity for public input. This article explains it well:  Counties may get power to eliminate waste management districts

CGI does not want to lose the Hamilton County Household Hazardous Waste and Recycling Center even though Carmel has curbside recycling and a household hazardous waste center because the county facility accepts more items.  The Hamilton County Household Hazardous Waste and Recycling Center accepts TVs, ewaste, appliances and tires, whereas the Carmel center does not.  CGI often refers residents with these types of items to the Hamilton County center.  CGI is also concerned about people who live in unincorporated areas and cities and towns without their own programs.

The Association of Solid Waste Districts was concerned about this bill.

Indiana Association of Solid Waste and Recycling supported this bill.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

 

 

 
Sustainable Living Seminar - 2017 Climate Change, Let Your Voice Be Heard

Wednesday, February 15, 2017   HEC_logo
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Carmel Clay Public Library
55 4th Avenue Southeast, Carmel, IN 46032

RSVP

 

Scientists are extremely concerned about global environmental issues, but it is also important to know what is happening to our environment on a national and state level.  What will happen to the current environmental programs and policies in the near future?  Learn about emerging developments in the Indiana Legislature & Congress and why your voice is needed now more than ever.

  • Jesse Kharbanda, the Executive Director of the Hoosier Environmental Council, will provide information on how to protect our planet and how you can actively take part.
  • Amanda Shepherd, Senior Outreach Associate, will talk about being an advocate for the environment.

 

Indiana Advanced Energy Plan community conversation

Following the Hoosier Environmental Council, former Mayor Ballard and visiting fellow with the Institute of Civic Leadership and Mayoral Archives at the University of Indianapolis will join us along with his graduate students who are working on an Advanced Energy Plan for Indiana.  Is Indiana ready for a strategic energy policy? Students would like you to be a part of the discussion that will inform the Indiana Advanced Energy Plan, which will be presented to the Indiana State Legislature in April.



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Oppose HB 1082 'No-More-Stringent-Than' Bill
2016 LEGISLATIVE SESSION

HB 1082 – Environmental rules and standards.
Bill author: Rep. Wolkins

Position: CGI opposes HB 1082.  
CGI has joined a broad coalition to support policies that build a more sustainable community, and oppose the ones that don't.

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1) Testimony on HB 1082 was heard in the House Environmental Affairs Committee on Jan. 20th. As shown below, the Indiana Chamber and 12 health, faith and environmental groups testified in opposition. Many thanks to George Schenetzke who testified on CGI's behalf. Notably, the only groups supporting this bill are lobby groups for manufacturing, cast metal, electric utilities, petroleum, convenience store, farm, and pork industries. To view the archived video of the hearing, click here and select Jan. 20th, testimony for HB 1082 starts at 32 min.

2) On Jan. 27, HB1082 passed  out of House Environmental Affairs Committee with a 7-6 vote.  Please join us in thanking Rep. Donna Schaibley, the only Hamilton County representative on this committee, for voting against this bill.   Rep. Schaibley's contact info: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  317-232-9863.  To view the archived video of the hearing, click here and select Jan. 27th, testimony for HB 1082 starts at 4:30 min

3) On Feb. 2, HB 1082 cleared the House 64-33 .  While this is a disappointing loss, it's better than last year when the no more stringent bill (HB 1351) passed out of the House with a much wider margin 78-18. So, there's been a little improvement over last year. Unfortunately, Hamilton County Representatives Torr, Huston, Richardson, and Cook voted for HB 1082.  Kudos to Rep. Schaibley the only Hamilton County representative and among only 6 House Republicans to oppose this horrible bill.

4) Testimony on HB 1082 was heard in the Senate Environmental Affairs committee on Feb 15. There is a growing number of opponents to the bill. Many thanks to George Schenetzke who testified on CGI's behalf. Notably, the only groups supporting this bill are corporate lobby groups shown below. To view the archived video of the hearing, click here and select Feb 15th, testimony for HB 1082 starts at 8:40 min, proponent's testimony begins at 2 hrs 9 min

5) On Feb. 22, HB 1082 was amended with a strip-and-insert amendment that would require IDEM to report all rulemaking to the legislature annually, and passed out of the Senate Environmental Affairs committee with an 8-0 vote.  Senator Scott Schneider is the only Hamilton County legislator on this commitee.  Sen. Schneider's contact info: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   (317) 232-9808.  To view the archived video of the hearing, click here and select Feb 22nd, testimony for HB 1082 starts at the begining.

6) On Feb. 25, HB 1082 was amended on 2nd reading in the Senate to add more reporting requirements to IDEM.

What's Next: The Senate Version of HB 1082 will go to the Senate floor for 3rd reading.   Watch live online.

Click here to Find Your Legislator

About the bill:

House Version

Senate Version

HB 1082 prohibits Indiana's technical experts at Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) and the Environmental Rules Board (ERB) from setting higher environmental standards than those established by the EPA.  It would handicap Indiana's local technical experts from determining when our rules need to be more stringent to protect public health, and Indiana's water and air. CGI believes that state and local agencies with input from public testimony should continue to be empowered to write regulations, derived from general rule making authority, that help Indiana head off contamination risks.  As much local autonomy as practicable is desirable. CGI opposes HB 1082 which would prohibit Indiana regulators from enacting any new regulation, except those that are explicitly authorized by state or federal law.

This bill is designed to restrict the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) from developing rules that help ensure a safe environment.

We believe that HB 1082 is an attack on the long-standing ability of professionally-trained technical experts and regulators to adopt rules, after careful consideration and proper discretionary authority that protect our residents.  HB 1082 exposes Hoosiers, if passed, to environmental risks by denying timely rules that protect us from such dangers as chemical spills contaminating our water supplies.

Some legislators claim that federal regulatory bodies are too aggressive at the expense of economic growth. However, there are nine statutory checks on regulatory overreach, and the attorney general reviews all regulations, and should the governor disapprove of any, he can veto them.  Moreover, business and industry have great influence over what regulations pass out of IDEM. Of the 15 members of the IDEM board, nine are representatives of industry.

In addition, there are areas where the EPA has been weak, if not absent. For example, the EPA has not adequately protected the public from the serious pollution threats of fracking, coal ash sludge lagoons, factory farm waste, outdoor wood boilers, and above-ground chemical storage tanks to name a few.

This bill could make it illegal for regulators to enact any new regulation unless explicitly authorized by federal or state law. It would prohibit state regulatory agencies from making any regulations that do not strictly adhere to what is allowed in this bill.  In effect, it would eliminate the multi-decade discretionary authority that executive agencies have long had, and could have the added effect of paralyzing agencies in carrying out their existing responsibilities out of fear of being sued for going beyond what those federal programs require.

HB 1082 weakens Indiana's ability to make its own decisions on how best to protect its people. This is inconsistent with Hoosiers’ long tradition of protecting “state’s rights", effectively, putting more, not less, power in the hands of the federal government to make those decisions for Indiana.

The Senate amendment strips the original language of HB 1082 (House Version) that would require an act of the legislature to address gaps in EPA environmental regulations, and inserts language that requires the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) to report annually to the legislature any proposed rulemaking that may be more stringent than federal law, and delays its implementation until after the end of the legislative session.

On the face of it, the Senate bill appears to strike a middle ground, adding more transparency to the rulemaking process, and enabling stakeholders to review and raise concerns of overreach, but in effect it accomplishes the same thing as the original House version.

Both versions of the bill add an unnecessary layer of government to prevent Indiana from making rules that are more stringent than the EPA.  Additional layers are unnecessary because Indiana has a long history of not being more stringent. Indiana ranks near the bottom of many environmental measures and was ranked the 49th greenest state by Forbes, hardly a left-wing group.  There are already numerous provisions in Indiana code that restrict IDEM and the Environmental Rules Board (ERB).   Corporate interests are already well represented in the rulemaking process as 9 of the 16 members of the ERB are from industry.  In fact, every corporate lobbyist supporting HB1082 said they didn't have any problems with IDEM and the ERB.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

 

OPPOSING HB 1082

  • Journal Gazette editorial
  • Indiana Chamber of Commerce
  • Hoosier Environmental Council
  • American Academy of Pediatrics, Indiana Chapter
  • Indiana State Medical Association
  • Potential Public Health Partner
  • Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light
  • Indiana Friends Committee/Quakers
  • Indiana Wildlife Federation
  • CAFO Watch
  • Carmel Green Initiative
  • Save the Dunes
  • Citizens Action Coalition - Statehouse Report
  • Sierra Club-Hoosier Chapter
  • Earth Charter Indiana

SUPPORTING HB 1082

  • Indiana Manufacturing Association
  • Indiana Energy Association (electric utilities)
  • Indiana Pork  Advocacy Coalition
  • Indiana Cast Metals Association
  • Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association
  • Indiana Farm Bureau
  • Indiana Petroleum Council

 

 
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