Renewable Portfolio Standard returns, for now

By Ben Delman on January 17, 2017

Late last year, Governor Kasich vetoed HB 554. The bill would have effectively extended the freeze on the Renewable Portfolio Standards by making compliance voluntary. Ohio’s solar community came out in force to stop this from happening. Hearing rooms in the Senate and House were both filled with people who came to Columbus to speak against the bill. Nearly a dozen OH SUN members were among them.

Solar advocates, and co-op members in particular, worked hard to persuade their legislators that continuing the freeze would harm 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 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. The county has seen exponential growth in solar this year, and many new voices are standing up for solar as a result.  Thanks to the Lorain County Solar Co-op, the number of arrays has doubled in the county this year. It is now one of the top ten counties in the state for solar arrays.

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 General Assembly passed legislation (SB 310) in 2014 to halt the enforcement of the RPS. That legislation has expired allowing the freeze to thaw.

There is still uncertainty in the year ahead though. The General Assembly could pass new legislation to further delay reinstatement of the RPS. Solar advocates will need to stay vigilant to protect and expand the RPS in Ohio.

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