POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Proposed bill aims to change Utah solar policy

Feb 7, 2024, 10:00 AM

Solar panels that have been installed on an apartment complex in Cottonwood Heights on Wednesday, J...

Solar panels that have been installed on an apartment complex in Cottonwood Heights on Wednesday, July 12, 2023. (Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News)

(Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Wayne Harper, R-Salt Lake, has sponsored a bill that updates solar policy in Utah. SB189 would increase and simplify energy bill credits for energy generated by solar power. 

Currently, Rocky Mountain Power charges 10 cents for each kilowatt hour it provides. However, it only credits customers who provide solar energy to the grid with about five cents per kilowatt hour. 

According to a press release, current bill credit offerings for solar are “too low and complex for most Utahns to take advantage of going solar.” 

The updated solar policy would require energy companies to credit solar owners at least 84% of the cost per kilowatt.

“This bill is about providing Utahns with the energy choice they deserve at a fair price,” said Josh Craft, the government and corporate relations manager for Utah Clean Energy.  “By updating rooftop solar policies, we can ensure that clean energy remains an accessible option for all residents.”

Utah solar policy “an outlier” 

According to Vote Solar, a national organization that advocates for solar power, Utah’s solar policy is an outlier.

Utah is reportedly among the few states where compensation for solar energy changes each year. Additionally, Utah’s solar export rates are among the lowest across the U.S. 

(Solar export rates refer to the amount of excess electricity that is pushed onto the power grid, per solar.com.)

Fluctuating export rates make it difficult for potential solar adopters to estimate their energy costs each year. 

The bill would stabilize fluctuation, since solar adopters would be guaranteed a bill credit of at least 84% of an energy company’s price per kilowatt. 

Utahns should have the option to choose an energy solution that works best for their families and saves them the most money,” according to Craft. 

The bill would provide solar adopters with some level of consistency, even if the price per kilowatt hour changes. Senators are expected to hear the bill later this week. 

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Proposed bill aims to change Utah solar policy