The Ohio General Assembly passed bills effectively extending the freeze on our renewable portfolio standard (RPS). However, Governor Kasich has previously said he would veto such legislation. Notably, neither the state house nor state senate passed HB 554 with a veto proof margin.
Solar advocates, and co-op members in particular, worked hard to persuade their legislators that continuing the freeze would harm the Ohio’s ability to create jobs and limit the ability of residents to take control of where their electricity comes from. More than 100 renewable energy advocates, including about a dozen OH SUN members and volunteers, testified before the legislature to explain how the RPS has benefited all Ohioans.
Solar co-op members from Lorain County were successful in encouraging Senator Gayle Manning to vote against the bill. Manning had indicated she was undecided on the bill and ultimately ended up voting against it. More than two-dozen co-op members reached out to her office before the vote. Thanks to the Lorain County Solar Co-op, the number of arrays has doubled in the county this year.
The RPS is a market-based solution to incentivize solar production. It does so by creating a market for renewable energy credits. Solar systems generate these credits with their production, helping solar owners pay off the cost of their system more quickly. The legislature passed legislation (SB 310) in 2014 to halt the enforcement of the RPS. That legislation expires at the end of this year.
HB 554 reached the Governor’s desk late Thursday. Governor Kasich has ten days (not counting Sundays) to either sign or veto the legislation. Join the OH SUN listserv to keep updated on the latest news out of Columbus.