POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Bill focusing on solar power customers in Utah gets favorable recommendation in Senate committee

Feb 20, 2024, 4:00 PM | Updated: 5:04 pm

solar panel shown, solar power in utah is the major focus of a proposed law...

(Hans Koepsell/Deseret News)

(Hans Koepsell/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Solar customers who are donating their extra power to the grid could soon get more money under a bill that recently got the seal of approval from a Senate committee.

Right now, customers pay about 11 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity. But Rocky Mountain Power only credits solar power customers about 5 cents for the power they send back to the grid.

S.B.189 would force Rocky Mountain Power to pay 84% of what it receives for electricity.

The bill’s sponsor, State Sen. Wayne Harper, R-Taylorsville, said this higher return will provide an incentive for people to go solar.

“Utah, as we’ve recently found out, is underproducing the amount of energy that is needed for its residents and this is an option to go through and make sure that we assist in that demand,” Harper said.

Bryson Garbett from Garbett Homes told a Senate committee last week that he would install solar panels on more homes if the rate of return was better.

“We’re very much in favor of having this. And we view this as being fair. Where it’s at currently, is not fair to businesses and it’s not fair to homeowners,” said Garbett.

Opponents said Utah already has some of the lowest energy costs in the country and this would make it hard for Rocky Mountain to cover operating costs.

The Senate Transportation, Public Utilities, Energy, and Technology Committee gave the bill a favorable recommendation last week. It now goes to the Senate floor.

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Bill focusing on solar power customers in Utah gets favorable recommendation in Senate committee