HB 539 would require customers who use solar panels to pay a fee and add a grid access fee for customers who sell the generated energy back to their utility.
February 18, 2021
Image: Mobilus In Mobili via Flickr
The Missouri House Utilities Committee held the first part of a series of discussions on proposed fees for residential solar customers.
The fees were introduced by Rep. Jeff Knight (R) under HB 539 legislation. The bill would require customers who use solar panels to pay a fee and add a grid access fee for customers who sell the generated energy back to their utility.
The bill would also require devices to meet a certain standard and that retail electricity suppliers allow consumers to use the energy they generate whenever they need it.
Knight told the local press, “I'm not against solar; I'm not here to kill Jobs. I'm here out of fairness in the industry. “
He argued that net metering solar customers should be considered to fund the electrical power delivery system. He explained the bill as an attempt to determine the cost of network usage.
Grid access fees are not the only type of fee typically charged to residential solar customers. However, all of these fees can cripple a region's distributed solar market. In Missouri, a state with only 281.5 MW of installed solar capacity, solar energy has been a steady source of new capacity for homes, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
SEIA predicts that the state will add 851 MW of capacity over the next 5 years, a volume that could be affected by the waiver of the proposed fees.
Renew Missouri officials are expected to testify against HB 539 during the next scheduled hearing of the law, due next week. HB 539 has also been rejected by some of the state's plumbers who say they are fixing any required grid upgrades to solar power customers are moving the state in the wrong direction.
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