Solar Energy/Net Metering for Hoosiers

everyone on Eastern Time. Good morning to everyone on Central Time. We're very glad to have you be a part of this net metering forum. Uh my name is Jesse and I'm the executive director of the Hoosier Environmental Council and I am very happy to share with you that uh this is the seventh public policy that the Hoosier Environmental Council has organized in 2021 and this particular one, I'm very pleased to be doing that. We're doing so in partnership with United Neighbors So, I Indiana Citizens Action Coalition, Carmel Green Initiative and Indiana Digi. It's a great group of partners that have been working on solar for many years Um the focus of this particular form is as I said on net metering and we're very intentionally having this forum today, June 30th 2021 because literally 1 year from now barring any legislative change in the 2022 session Net Metering is going to end in Indiana and Indiana is already one of the first states in America that is in the process of phasing out uh Net through the legislative process and We wanted to host this forum on this particular day, June 30th because from and talk to talk about this issue from both a project lens and from a policy lens.

We hope that you come out of this forum feeling inspired to act on going solar. If you have been thinking about it uh because the incentive of net metering is so good and uh from a policy lens, we hope that you're inspired to act and try to store. Net Metering in the 2022 session and to advance other pieces of public policy that are critical to to fully realize the potential of rooftop solar. So, with uh with that context laid out and the objectives of our for one final step before I turn this over to uh to some of my colleagues here uh and that is to repaint you with what we request of our listeners which is to please share your comments and your questions in the chat stream that you will see directly below the live stream this event on forward slash Heck Web.

Please put your comments and questions there and I'll try to integrate them uh particularly when we get to the point of the Q and A conversations. So, the first part of this form is going to be focused on some mini presentations and then the second half will be focused on a round table and I'll introduce everyone as they as they come on screen. So, we'll start uh this this program uh with uh with Zach Schock, uh our colleague from So, United neighbors, Zach, welcome. Thank you, Jesse and thank you uh to Hoosier Environmental Council for hosting us today. Um Jesse, I will let you go ahead and share your screen if that's okay with with the slides um but I am going to kick things off by talking about uh why rooftop solar is not just good for solar owners but good for everybody and why um you can go solar right here in Indiana today.

Um while we're getting those slides up. Uh I think you can you can see that we have um sorry about that. We like to start this presentation just by making sure that everybody is kind of grounded in the fact that we have plenty of sunshine here in Indiana. Uh this map shows uh the available solar resource that was was tracked by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and they show that Indiana is right there in the middle and what's nice about this map is you can compare Indiana directly to Germany which has some some of the highest rates of solar penetration in the entire world. So, if they can do it in Germany, we can definitely do it here in Indiana. Uh next slide please Jesse So, we might as well use some of that sunshine that we get here and harvest it to pay your electric bills. and often times, solar rooftop solar in particular is framed as something that's good for the actual solar owner uh but I want to make sure that everybody understands that rooftop solar actually benefits everybody um and so if you want to invest in a clean just and equitable energy system, a rooftop solar is an important part of that equation.

Rooftop solar helps to lower energy bills obviously for the homeowner who's generating their own electricity but it also lowers overall system cost and creates a more resilient electric grid Uh it drives local jobs and investment. Um it leads to improve public health from generating a clean, renewable energy and also leads to more energy freedom. It allows Hoosiers to produce their own energy locally um and so if we if we're invested in debating our energy system in a cost-effective way, Rooftop solar is a critical part of that equation. Next slide please and the great news is that Hoosiers all over the state are making that a choice and investing in their energy freedom with rooftop solar. Um so this map comes from a siren sword. You can see uh some of the uh how the growth in in rooftop solar just in the last decade but the reality is we only have about 4000 between four and 5000 net meter customers um around the state and so there's a lot of opportunity to continue to grow.

Uh next slide please. So, just before I handed off to my other colleagues for this presentation, I did just want to end with a little bit of an overview of how your solar system will actually work. If you do install rooftop solar. Um so, This diagram shows a simplified version of the average rooftop solar installation but really the setup is the same no matter what your configuration looks like and whether those panels are on the roof or on a barn or your garage detached from your home or in a ground mount.

Um there's still the same basic components. Um so you have the solar array which is the the panels strung together. They capture energy from the sun and turn that energy into direct current or DC electricity that the electricity then goes to the next system component which is your inverter. That's the part of your system that takes a direct current electricity and turns it into the alternating current or AC electricity that we actually use in our homes and then, uh that AC electricity flows to your electrical panel where all of your all of your circuits connect and uh if you uh if you do have the solar installed at your home or your business and you have a load in that home, you have lights on, you have television on those elect will get up.

At your at your home or business first but then, if you generate a little bit more electricity than you're actually using uh at the given moment, that electricity will go out through your utility meter and will serve your neighbors and your neighbors neighbors until these electrons are fed up um and I think that's where my colleague we will pick it up next to talk about Net Metering, how you're able to benefit from the electricity that you send to your neighbors on the electric grid Great Thank you so much. uh Zach and yes, on uh Leah Phil uh with civilized Indiana who will be complimenting uh Zack's presentation and pivoting us from talking about the technology and talking about the project to uh to talking about. So, Leah, take away. Yes, I'm going to talk about Net Metering what it is and why it matters Go ahead and advance to the next slide. Great. So, what is that Metering? Um Net Metering allows for um an equal exchange of of electricity that's produced and electricity That's without valuing those two streams differently.

So, that's really um why it's important when you generate more than you use that extra electricity will flow back and then you receive that credit and that credit can actually build up and roll over from month to month and apply um to future months where you may actually use more than what you're producing. For example in winter months um and that's how it impacts your monthly electric bill as you bank those credits and then draw down on them later when you need them. um for additional information on net metering, I have linked to the IRC Net meeting page which has um a lot of the figures on where utilities are at with um available Net Metering capacity Next slide please. Um so, this graphic really helps uh helps me visualize why Net Metering is so important from a practical perspective.

You look at the daily solar production. uh in orange on the left and you look at the blue line being a representation of someone like me who goes to work during the day usually um So, I'm using a lot of electricity during the morning and during the evening. Um not a a lot during the and so there's a mismatch between my solar panel production and my my usage and net metering allows to shift that excess which is where the solar does not overlap my demand and shift that to periods of time like the night or um on the right to different months.

So, let's pretend that demand is um flat every month of the year. Um you see anything above the line is excess that's going to up as a credit and then you'll shift that over to either side. January, February, October through December. when you actually are using more than you're producing in your system um and so it's evening that out and so when we talk about producing 100% of the electricity you use, we are talking about producing enough in the sunny months to cover what you need in the winter months and that's really why net metering um is so important from a practical perspective Next slide please Um and then I just wanted to share since the beginning of that um how far we've come in um net meter throughout the state.

So, this shows both in terms of the number of customers and the capacity, how it's really grown. Net Metering started off in 2004 and then there were some improvements made in 2011 and you know, of course, the cost of um solar have fallen at the same time. So, there are many factors that have driven the increase but um we've really seen a growth in that and net metering is no small part of what has made that so attractive. This does say wind and solar here and I just want to go over also the eligibility for net metering. So, it's not just solar that we tend to talk about it synonymous because um Net metered projects can be wind, solar biomass that generates electricity, um fuel cells, but I did the the calculations for Nipsco and Indiana, Michigan power in Northern Indiana where I'm located and it was ninety to 98% of net metering capacity was solar. So, um that's why we tend to talk about the two together. I'm also eligibility. we talk about the phase out of net metering. If you have a rural utility or a municipal utility.

This change is not affecting you because you never were require. Your utility was never required to offer Net Metering to you by the state because um um municipal and cooperative utilities set their own rules um and so you may have like a Marshall County RMC has a pretty decent um value for your excess electricity. I think it's close to 9¢. um compared to typical wholesale rates which are around 3¢ and so um it's not to say that it's not feasible for you. You you definitely want to go and request your own distributed generation tariffs just to see um what the picture would be for you if you're not investing in utilities. So, Duke Nipsco, Indiana, Michigan, Power Ae Center Point, um formerly veteran AS Indiana, formerly Indianapolis Power and Light. Um so that's another important consideration. Also, if you're an institution, there is a cap of uh megawatt there on on net metering.

Um to to be aware of um and then as far as an overall cap of who can benefit each utilities to One-and-a-half percent of their summer uh peak demand of what they're they are required to offer a net metering capacity and then of that 40% has been reserved for residential Um so that's really the room we have to grow over the next year. Uh unfortunately, when I looked at the numbers from the end of 2020 um in the Nipsco and I and M service territory, we'd only use like 30% of the capacity available to residential so that that meant that they're by my calculation. There were about 1000 to 2000 homes that could get Net Metering that that will lose that opportunity and that's a five to ten KW project size. So, um we're we're leaving something on the table and leaving those benefits on the table. um between now and the next year. Next slide please.

Um so, I want to talk a little bit about net metering and the return on investment and the payback period and um payback period can really range from a number of factors from the electricity rates that you pay based on your customer class based on your utilities, tariffs. Um I can also vary based on whether you can take advantage of the federal tax credit which is available to residents and businesses, Businesses can take advantage of accelerated depreciation, rural small businesses, and farmers can take advantage of the USDA Rural Energy for America program.

So, there's just a lot of things that might affect your payback period. Um but I want to shift how we when I say payback period. Um I'm thinking how many years until I break even but that that doesn't take into account how long the system will last. So, typical warranties are 25 years and then at that point, they should be producing still at least least 80% of their initial capacity. So, we're talking about value continuing to accrue. You see the 12 year break even um for years, decades after that. So, I think that's also important to consider um when we talk about the impact of net metering going away um in those years following next slide please. Um I just threw up an example of a simple payback period and return on investment calculations so that you can do this on your own and these slides will be available later for you to run your own numbers but just wanted to show how we were driving the um six to 910 percent ROI and the Ten to 15 year payback period and again, it can be less or more depending on a number of factors there.

Next slide please. So, the phase out of net metering in in Indiana that we've been talking about here are the details. So, you need to be installed by July 1, 2022 in order to receive Net Metering until July 1. 2032. So, that's at least 10 years and from today, that would be 11 years. Um it might end sooner depending on where when each utility hits that 1.5% cap I mentioned.

So Vector or Center Point Net Metering is already gone because they hit that cap um prior to this year and then Nipsco um has hit part of that cap. So, there's a little um lack of clarity right now that we're working to resolve but um Nipsco is encouraging all those interested in net metering to submit their applications to the utility by the end of this year. 2021 in order to to ensure that they get net metering. Um so the deadlines may vary there and then um whenever we leave net metering and it varies by utility, we don't know exactly what rate will be on. So, it um Center Point Veteran is already set their rates and ended up being less than 3¢. Um we expected wholesale plus 25% to be somewhere around three and a half, four and a quarter cents but it ended up being even lower than that in this one case. So, we'll be closely watching what what rates utilities are setting across the state over the coming year next please.

Um I wanted to talk about why it matters. Um if you go solar today and you have about 11 years remaining of net metering, um it It really as I mentioned, it it varies based on your excess electricity. So, um someone with someone on the board of Solaris Indiana created this helpful model that shows based on your access whether you're sending back um 75% or 25% electricity that you're producing how that actually has a really big impact on your financial picture. So it can be hard to make um concrete estimates without knowing um kind of your usage profile over a day and a year. Um how that looks So this is an example of a 7.5 KW System and this is a cash payment upfront. You can see the payback period uh falls around 11 years and so that actually matches really well with how much net metering is remaining and so the conclusion is um the end of net metering would not affect the payback period for this system. However, as you go beyond 11 years, you can see the purple line bends more down and so the additional savings, the additional benefits beyond the payback period um are because of that high amount of excess.

that that person's um consumption and usage or not well matched. Um go ahead and advance to the next image. Um here's an example of someone who doesn't go uh solar within the next year but they wait until after Net Metering is completely gone and so we call that scenario Net billing. We don't know exactly where it will be at but let's just say it's three to 4¢. Um this really the payback period in the case where there's 75% excess generation were now out to about 20 years. So, it's it's almost doubling the um payback period of time. um except where we have very little excess generation Net Metering doesn't matter as much and we see that the payback period is only lengthened by a few years.

So again, assumptions are everything here at at your own unique energy consumption profile matters and that also means that it matters what you do to control when you use electricity. So, whether that's appliances or delay start appliances. installing a backup battery. All those things can help give you more control over when you use electricity and the benefits that you get from your system. I think that's all for me. Alright, thank you so much Leah for incredibly informative overview of net metering and the implications of net metering on payback periods and rate of um uh rate of return on investment and uh with that great overview. well, next year from uh Ray Wilson and Ray is also with Solar Indiana and he'll be providing a uh perspective of a of a solar owner and of someone who's been deeply involved in fostering solar uh in his uh in his uh in his congregation with that.

Take it away, right? Thank you, Jesse and welcome everyone to this talk. I am going to be primarily talking about this practical experience and uh give you some heads up if you uh are really looking into solar panels. Uh we installed the first solar panels on our house back in 2000 2012. It was a five kilowatts system and we paid $3.75 per watt which adds up to bit of money but believe it or not, at that point, my electric company in Indianapolis Power and Light gave me a check for $4000 as an incentive to put my solar panels on but within 6 months at that time, my church put on twice that many panels because there were five other congregations working at the same time, we got good prices and so the price went from 375 down to 275 and then in 2017, I added some more panels to my house because I had uh I bought an electric car and uh those We're like 270 a watt and our church bought a large system, a round mounted system and it turned out to be about $2 a watt.

So, prices are going down and of course, the the the um What you've learn from this is that the larger system, the lower the cost for what? Okay, I want to tell you some really practical things that I've run across and you'll want to think about these things when you're making a decision Which vendor to go with, What system to buy and they're pretty practical. First of all, just to follow up The prices right now are about as low as I've ever seen them and now is definitely the time to buy solar panels. You can get a good system for about $2.50 a lot Um very practical thing. Don't put solar panels on your roof. It's the roof is not in good condition. Uh people who use uh the decision point. If your roof is older than 10 years, you want to get a new roof before you put solar panels on that I have experience with that our church had to take our solar panels off, put a new new roof on, and then put them back and that's not, that's not cheap.

You don't want to spend the money that way. Another thing that I've learned is trees are important. trees that are going to change your solar panels are not a good thing which only makes sense but we have a large tree in our yard and we are solar panels started getting shaded about 230 or three in the afternoon and uh finally, we decided we're going to cut it down and it turns out that the tree was taking 30% of what our solar panels were able to produce I can tell you that no one wants to cut a tree down but Solar panels are so much more effective at reducing carbon emissions than trees are. So, I wouldn't hesitate to cut down a tree to put solar panels on my roof another area that you really want to. It's hard to think about when you're excited about getting your solar panels to think about warranties but I I want to tell you about warranties, warranties, the panels themselves, the the physical panels are usually warranted for like 10 years and 10 years.

It's a good bit of time and what they're wanted for is they might leak or they just might fail in some way or another. and the manufacturer says, okay, if it happens within 10 years, we'll give you a new one. that's great but there's another kind of having to do with panels and that is it's performance and Leah talked about this a minute ago. Uh panels are warranted for like 80% to produce 80% of their output as new at the end of 25 years and the better panels are even 90%. So, think about that. You put panels on now and not and and 25 years later, they're still producing eighty or ninety of what they are and what they were when they were manufactured. So, this is a this is a good deal. These these panels are really good. Um another part of Zach mentioned are inverters, inverters as you mentioned what they do, They um they generally warranted from ten to 25 years and of course 25 years is better than ten. So keep an eye out and you know, when you're thinking about what system to buy There's another warranty and that is the workmanship.

The people who actually install your solar panels, they will warrant their work of keeping the, you know, the roof doesn't leak or there's some bolts loose or the wiring is frayed or something. Um many I've seen warranties as as few as 2 years and I've seen warranties a lifetime so that makes a difference. Now, let me go one step further and say, okay, let's say you have a panel that goes by and it's less than 10 years and the panel company says, okay, here's a new panel who puts the panel Well, so that means you probably have to go back to the supplier and the supplier has to come out and put the panel on.

Well, depending on what the arrangement is with the panel company. you may have to pay for the service person to come out and fix it or the panel company might do it. So, when you're negotiating a price for a new system, keep these kinds of things in mind. Um I think that there's one more final thing I'll say once you have a system, almost all systems at this point give you a website where you can go and monitor your solar panels. You can look at each solar panel and say if it's working or not working and uh if you have to do that but let's say if you don't, you might have panels that aren't working and sometimes the communication fails. So, it's up to you to do a little bit of monitoring. Some some companies may do this for you but that's just another question you might want to ask. I think that's for for the day and I would turn it back to Jesse with just a reminder that now is the time to install solar panels and even if we talk about July of 2022 as being the cut-off date, you want to start now because it does take some time to get through the permitting, get in line with the solar panel of people, get them installed and when it comes to winter time, they can't do much on your roof at that time.

So now, right now is the time to buy solar panels Back to you, Jesse. Thanks very much uh for your uh incredibly valuable and practical advice here uh and uh at this point, uh we're going to turn it back to Zach briefly and in the meantime, while Zack's getting back on on camera, I want to just again encourage all of our listeners to continue to put your questions in the comments and we will be sure to to uh feel them during the Q and A Alright, thank you, Jesse and thank you to Ray and Leah for uh for your presentations. Um I just want to wrap things up by emphasizing raise point there at the end that uh there really is no time like the present to go solar here in Indiana and the point we wanted to make sure you take away from this call is that there are nine open group purchase programs around the state that can help make this easy for you.

Um so this this map shows where we have programs open everywhere from the Northern Indiana Solar Coop in the South Bend, Elkhart, Goshen area all the way down to Evansville um and so you can find links to sign up for all of these groups at bit slash Solar Indiana, the URL that's on the page here. Um the timing as we mentioned, it does take some time to get your quote um and and go through the process. So, uh so if you're uncertain about the timing, joining these groups will give you plenty of time to get uh to get a quote sign a contract and and solar. well before the deadline is up next year. So, these group programs like I said, are designed to make it easy for you to go solar. You join together with your neighbors, businesses, others in your community um and you're able to leverage the bulk purchasing power of the group to get really competitive offers from a single solar company who knows they're working with a large group of educated and motivated potential customers.

Um there's a competitive bidding process You know, you're being connected with the company that was vetted by your peers in the group um and then you'll be connected with that company to get a free custom quote for solar at the group rate. Um so, there's really no downside. If you're interested, you just want to see a quote or if you're highly motivated, ready to install solar joining these these groups that are open uh hopefully in a community near you can make the process much easier and then both so that the neighbors or so as Indiana depending on where you are in the state are here to help you out and answer any questions that you have. Um so again, the website is a slash solar Indiana and you'll you'll get a little bit more information about the net metering issue we've been discussing today about how the group process works and then links where you can find all of these open groups where you can you can sign up to join the group in your community and also a schedule of upcoming Solar One-on-one webinars where we're going to way more tale about the solar technology.

How the the group purchase process makes it easier for you to go solar and what the economics look like. So, I think I'll turn it back over to Jesse with that Thank you, Zach for that great overview of solar co-ops across the state and with that, we are going to shift into the second half of our program, right on time at 1230 Eastern to um uh welcome to other panelists and I'll formally introduce everyone when they turn on their cameras. Alright, we're just waiting on one of our speakers to turn on their camera.

Leo, are you able to join us? Alright, great. Well, thanks so much again for tuning in to this program. Dedicated to net metering and again, um wanting to inspire you to act both as a prospective solar energy owner as well as a citizen that deeply cares about all of the promises of rooftop solar from the lens of energy, independence, and deon and so forth. So, um we're now entering into the Q and A phase and of course, we'll continue to have Zach Schock with so United Neighbors uh Leah Phil civilized. Indiana Ray Wilson with Solaris Indiana as well as Kerwin Olson with Citizens Action Coalition and Laurel Arnold with Indiana Dg. So, this is a great group of colleagues that have a wealth of knowledge related to rooftop solar uh before we go to some questions that um we wanted to make sure to cover uh in in the Q and AI did want to feel some of the questions from our audience.

So, one of them is do you to have a new roof to go solar and what happens to the panels if you need to replace your roof, right? You want to tackle that. I think you touched on that uh briefly but surely, you don't need a new roof. Um the original panels on my house were put on with the roof was 7 years old The church uh was not too much older than that but it did develop a leak and we had to take them off and it's just like before.

You just have to dismantle the whole thing. Set it on the ground. We took the opportunity that time to watch the panels uh but then when the new roofs on, then you it's just like reinstalling them when they're new. So, you're paying a second time to put them up So, that's a simple as anything. I think uh this timeline sometimes this is one what drags out people getting their solar panels because oh, is it good enough or not? You really have to get on that part of it right away. So, um I wouldn't underestimate the needs or a good roof Great. Thank you, Ray. Uh the next question is from Robin and um the question is uh the guy I talked to up here says that solar can get hot and start fires.

Uh he suggests not doing going with rooftop solar but going with ground mounted solar. Uh can you comment on that? I can jump in real quick and just say that uh properly installed rooftop solar system is safe. Um so, that's really not a concern If you have space to do a ground mount, then that's totally up to you.

You should be able to make that decision but as long as the system is properly installed, you shouldn't have any safety concerns. Alright, great. Thanks, Zach. And um there's uh a policy related question that someone has asked uh which we will definitely get to here. Um uh one more kind of project development related question. where does one locate the storage battery to integrate effectively with Net Metering I'll I'll jump in and it's it's anywhere you have space for it. Usually you find them in on a wall, in a garage. I presume that they could go in a basement. Uh there's nothing wrong with that. Uh it's just a matter where you have them that you can get to them to service them and where you're not going to bump into them and where they're closest they can be actually to where your electric panel is would be helpful.

Alright. Excellent. Thank you. Alright. Well, let's pivot now to some of the policy related questions that that we wanted to make sure to cover uh and this one will go to Kerwin uh with Citizens Action Coalition in 2017. Indiana began a five-year phase out of net metering because of SCA Senate enrolled Act 309. Uh why was it passed and have there been efforts to repeal 389 or at least extend the life of that Metering beyond June 30th 22. Oh, thanks for the uh the question Jesse and uh also, thanks for inviting us on to this great event today. Um well, I think it goes without saying that utilities have always been resistant to any customer owned generation as customer owned generation is energy that they are not selling making money off of. So, I think that's uh sort of stating the obvious as saw a precipitation drop in solar uh through the last uh 10 years falling cost of DG if you will.

There was a concerted and deliberate effort by primarily the Es. Utilities led by the Edison Electric Institute uh nationwide. Uh there was uh uh a now infamous report released in 2013 known as disruptive challenges that predicted this quote unquote utility death spiral uh if you will as a result of the falling costs of distributed generation that was going to lead to the erosion of revenues and declining of profits and rising cost from utilities and so as a result of this uh very very effective uh PR campaign as well as lobbying both at the congressional level and in every state, there were the utilities collectively began an all-out assault if you will on policies related to the incentives and advancements of DG Most notably uh Net Metering.

They started this drum beat in the Indiana State House around about 2014 2015. We saw the introduction of the very first uh kill Net Metering bill in Indiana in Twenty-fifteen. Um that ultimately fortunately but they were effectively uh they were effective over the next couple of years in convincing enough legislators that uh the mechanism of net metering created a subsidy that uh ratepayers were subsidizing wealthy suburbanites who were putting solar panels on their roofs and so they effectively convinced enough legislators in the Indiana General Assembly that net metering was going away because Net Metering was AA massive government subsidy uh to so primarily rich, suburban environmentalists that were raising rates on everybody else and we had to phase out and get rid of this mechanism known as net metering. So, it was a concerted effort over a number of years in in building a drum beat and convincing enough lawmakers to get rid of it and to your second question, yes, we've seen uh bills introduced uh just about every year uh to to repeal 309 or rollback 309 or extend that Metering.

Uh 2019 we had a bipartisan Bill with two Republican senators, two democratic senators on the Bill 2020. We had two bills in the house regarding that Metering and of course, last year in 2021, we had three bills uh introduced in the general Assembly. Two of those from Republicans, one of those from Democrats but unfortunately, none of those bills uh despite efforts by all of us on this call today and I'm sure many of that are also watching despite efforts to get those bills heard. none of those bills uh got a hearing at the statehouse as both and utility chairs. Uh basically refused to hear those pieces of legislation Thank you Kerwin for the very valuable um historical context. of the next question will be to Zack and that is with 309 now in place, the law of the land so to speak with respect to distributed generation. What is the generic formula for how solar owners will be credited when Net Metering fully phases out According to SCA three oh while Leah touched on this uh a little bit in her presentation.

Um there SCA 309. It talks about uh compensating for excess distributor generation. The electricity that is sent back out onto the grid at a rate of the average wholesale rate. What the what the electric utility purchases electricity on the open market from plus a 25% uh premium Um that number is going to be different for different utilities and there are ongoing proceedings. Uh I think we'll talk about uh shortly to uh determine what that will look like in different areas. The one utility had a new EDG or degeneration tariff adopted is center point down in Southwest Indiana around Evansville and uh for them, the excess distributed generation rate ended up being 2.7¢ a kilowatt hour compared to uh retail rate uh of electricity but that's more than 15¢ a kilowatt hour That's that's an incredible difference. Thanks, Zach. Um the next question will be, do we post to Ray and Leah and as we know, the one of the core objectives of this form is that we really want to encourage perspective solar owners to take advantage of that mirroring while it lasts.

What's the part of the solar project development process that is is most time consuming or most discouraging so that perspective solar energy would benefit from the technical advice of our good friends at Indiana. Yeah, I can take that one. I think it's just challenging to make an investment of that size. We're talking, I don't know, ten to $20000. That's the order of magnitude of like a used car, a nice used car and people are used to making decisions about car buying and it's a very, there's a lot of information available. You can consult friends, family for advice but it can be hard to do that with solar because it's something you might do once in your life and you may not know it.

Who's done it? And so you have very little information about products and panel quality and what's a fair price and so, I think just being able to make an informed decision whether you go ahead, whether you learn the reasons that it's not best for your roof or something else just being informed and knowing that you're getting a fair price. I think is the biggest benefit of um what solar is Indiana and solar United neighbors do because there are vendors in the market um that do some aggressive marketing. They charge prices that at least twice. So, we're talking instead of $10000. You know, $20000 and that um you know, that's money that people could spend on energy efficiency and other things rather than paying much higher prices.

So, um I think it's really important to get a fair value through that process I would, I would agree with Leah that um most of the time spent is with the homeowner making the decisions, you know, checking the roof, coming up with the money, uh during COVID. There was a time period when some of the permitting took a little longer than normal but I think that's probably pretty much cleared up at this point. so II think I think he said it it's it's it's making a big decision and getting all the facts and that's where solar rise and Sun can come in to help people along Excellent. Thank you, Leah and Ray. Uh the next question will be to Laura and uh Zach touched on this and II would like you to build on this right now. Indiana utilities are issuing proposals for how they handle the crediting of solar owners for excess generation when Net Metering ends in their service territory.

What has been the general approach that these utilities these industrial utilities have taken to date. The first utility that filed it's petition with the commission requested something called instantaneous netting rather than monthly netting and what that essentially means is that rather than keeping track of the net access and then uh calculating it on a monthly basis. it would be done instantaneously. That is extremely negative. for most um uh solar users uh in the testimony that we presented in the vector case, we took one particular um existing net metering customer uh former representative Ron Bacon who is a rather large solar system in the veteran service territory and we ask them to do an analysis of his curren t net metering.

And what it would have been under their proposal for Eg. Well, in the analysis that they provided to us, instantaneous would have been five times higher for um former representative Ryan Bacon. So, it's just not uh not a good thing. The um since the vector order um now Nipsco had initial proposed to offer monthly netting but after the vector order came out, uh they changed their minds. um rescinded that testimony and they are now uh in lockstep with the other three investor owned electric utilities and requesting instantaneous netting I would say that there the uh intervenes including the Office of Utility Consumer Council believe that this particular methodology is not appropriate and it's not approved under the Indiana State State Law or Indiana administrative code and since the vector order has gone out there is a coordinated appeal to the Indiana Court of Appeals on this issue.

Great. Thank you, Laura. Um a question from the audience uh which uh I'm opposed to either uh Laura is you've clarity by If a for profit utility for an investor owned utility has a um let's see it interconnection. See if an interconnection is going to understand if an interconnection agreement grandfathers you in to current Net Metering or if the system needs to be inspected or in service, we are having to litigate this point in Kentucky as they moved the qualifying event mid process I'll jump in here for uh if this was directed at Kerwin.

Uh you know, I'm personally not familiar with the Kentucky uh Public service Commission rules and therefore would really prefer not to comment but one of our members have been business members of Indiana DJ does do extensive work in Kentucky and I'd be happy to try to get this individual um an answer Alright, thank you, Laura. Um we'll move on to the next question here which is what are public interest groups doing? This really builds on what Laura just said in in the in the formal uh in the last formal question to this group.

Uh what are public interest groups doing in response to these utility proposals? I know you've talked about interventions before the Indian Utility Regulatory Commission. Uh Carmen, do you want to build on Laura's response there? Yeah well I think should be aware that there are many, many groups as lord said, including the Office of utility Consumer Counselor. There's there's my group at Cc Indiana Dg Sun Solar is Indiana Environmental Policy Center out of Chicago. Vote Solar, a national group. Uh all of us are are very very active before before commission and litigating these current proceedings. uh most most notably around issue of instantaneous netting uh that Laura spoke to there is a joint appeal uh at the commission that the veteran slash CenterPoint order granting instantaneous netting.

So, I think all of us will continue to do all that we can in the litigation uh theater between the the courts and the regulatory commission and we are all very very active of course in uh working the general assembly in terms of getting better policy in place whether that's uh repealing 309, extending that Metering coming up with a better successor tariff than what 309 delivers to customers. So, this is a priority issue for many, many, many, many groups that are interested in in environmental and and energy and consumer issues and so, we're going to to keep fighting both before the regulators before the courts uh and uh and the legislature uh Greek. Thank you and um you know, um you've spoken about a number of different public interest groups that have uh are weighing in on the successor tariffs that are being proposed by the different investor owned utilities.

Uh Zach, can you comment on how everyday citizens might be able to weigh in and influence those proposals before the utility regulatory commission? Sure. well, briefly all of the groups uh here represented on this call help to mobilize uh solar supporters the state to weigh in on that center point case. Um the the first case to end up Metering last year and uh help to direct hundreds of comments to the office of utility Consumer Counselor to help convince them to take this seriously and and and uh join our efforts. Um so that's one way that uh average folks have already uh weighed in and help to build a strong partnership with uh in the case. Um I think the you know Corwin mentioned um all the different groups involved. So um signing up to uh to support those groups and stay informed is a great first step. I also think the other point that Kerwin made that um you know, there's these ongoing regulatory processes and then there's also the policy discussion at the state house.

So, a great thing that average folks can do is to talk to their uh their elected officials at the at the local state level, the county level let them them know that this is an issue that's important to them and try to make sure that their elected officials are attention to what's happening at the at the regulatory and the regulatory proceedings and also trying to move proactive and fair. So, policies forward like extending and expanding that meter Super super Zack.

So, these last sets of questions have covered the past and the present. We've covered the history of net metering, how it came about, how it began to phase out in 2017. We've talked about the present that these different utilities are uh establishing successor tariffs to the long-standing Net Metering rule We've talked about the importance, the ongoing efforts to try to change state legislative policy related to that bearing.

Now, let's pivot to the future and this question Aliah. And that is solar battery combined systems are becoming more affordable. How might their adoption in Indiana be impacted by the face out of net metering? Sure, Yeah. So, I don't see people leaving the grid entirely as you alluded to. I think there's still be a benefit in being connected to the grid and unless, you know, religious or other remote locations but definitely this will shift the equation and add more value to adding batteries Um so that you can your electricity that would otherwise be excess and be losing two thirds of more of that value. Shifting that from day to night. Um what it won't do is shift that value from the sunnier months to the winter. So that may affect how someone still sizes their system but at least that day to night um it'll help smooth out that that mismatch between consumption and production um but there are other reasons that someone might also value battery system so that would be powering critical loads in the house like medical devices or if you're just tired of frequent power outages.

I think it's a myth that um are common that just having solar panels will get you through outages. They go down when the grid goes down to protect line workers. So, I think there are a lot of reasons to value batteries already um but certainly the equation will just shift more in their favor. um in the future. Thank you. I would just, I would, I would just add to that that I am expect that um electric vehicles with big batteries in them will play a part in the future as far as uh being able to uh use this electricity in your car. or your truck and then feed it into your home when you need it. Yeah. Excellent. Um if you're just tuning in to this program, once again, we're spotlighting net metering and the fact that 1 year from now a net metering will end in Indiana barring legislative action uh in the 2022 Indiana General Assembly. Um I want to definitely encourage our audience to continue to ask questions.

Um we will do our very best to feel them now. we have plenty of time so to speak. We're planning to uh adjourn around 115 Eastern. So again, plenty of time to try to fill your questions. Um you know, before I go to the next uh set question uh a good question from our audience from Shannon in our audience is, you know, this conversation is very much revolved around um when it's come to consideration of solar, it's been revolving around prospective solar energy owners whether it's a homeowner or a business owner or a congregation or or school or university.

Uh let's maybe zoom out here briefly and uh look at the question of how an everyday citizen who doesn't have the wherewithal to go solar or to facilitate going solar for other end user. How they can promote renewable energy in their community. Uh sure. You know. Yeah, sure. Um so, I think that uh you know, right now in Indiana, definitely rooftop solar at a, you know, a home or business is um the best option. We don't have certain mechanisms in place like the community solar or other policies that allow a wider um distribution of direct benefit on your electric bill from uh from distributed uh solar on the grid um but for who can install solar themselves? I mean, there's obviously uh one direct thing to do is to let people, you know who might be interested and might be able to install solar a home and business know about these opportunities to install solar before and that Metering goes away in 2022 um and then I think another great opportunity is to get involved in on the advocacy front.

Um through any of the organizations represented here whether it's so many neighbors so Indiana Citizen Action Coalition or Indiana Dg then join our efforts a fight for fair policy so that more Hoosiers can directly benefit um from uh from more solar being deployed. um and and creating more clean energy close to where that energy is actually used creating good paying local jobs and all the other benefits that come from distributed solar on our electric system I just would like to add as a response to that.

If someone individually um is not in a position to install solar themselves and then for example, in the AES Indiana service territory, that's about of their customers are not owner occupied residences but if you are active in your school corporation, um your library even your local sheriff's department, um um so on I would encourage you to get those officials who are involved in those local units of government to take to install solar. so that it reduces the tax burden for everyone including themselves. So, that is certainly something where there can be some organized effort even if you personally are not in a position to install solar Great, great points. Laura and Zach, Um the next question which I'll pull from our audience questions is is I think probably is to um Leah is can a rental property.

I own. This is from Victor. Can a rental property. I own benefit from Net Metering. Yes. As long as you are the owner of a property or a business, you could certainly install um solar. It it also can depend on whether um there's a mismatch between who's paying the electricity bill and who's paying for the solar system and so you might consider that as a factor in in whether that makes sense for you.

I know um I've lived in rental situations where I paid my electricity bill and others where the landlord paid it. So, um I think that's just something to consider in that decision. Thank you. Uh thank you Leah And the next question um uh again from the audience, I'll I'll post this to to Ray and and others can weigh in if if this might not be your fit, uh does a solar installation have any impact on homeowners insurance? I can answer that. you Everyone who has puts a solar system on their roof should contact their homeowner's insurance and let them know that I know that in my particular case, I have not seen any increase in the cost of my insurance because of that. I have heard where someone has done that and they have um have paid a little extra.

I've also heard just a sort of a sideline of this uh where a hailstorm through and the roof beside the solar panels was damaged. The solar panels weren't damaged but the insurance company actually paid to take the solar panels off to regroup the whole roof and then put the solar panels back. So, that was a good deal Uh but generally, you just want to make sure they know and generally, it does not cost you more money. Yeah And I would add to that there are two different items there within the insurance questions. So, there's a question of um will my insurance cover? Let's say a tornado takes out the whole house with solar panels with it. Um well, the insurance company pay the full value to replace my house and the solar system. That's one question Um and then there's a liability question and that there's a requirement um and the utilities, some of them will require proof prior to to approving.

Interconnected to the grid submitting your homeowner's insurance to say um I have this amount of liability coverage. I think it's a 1 million dollars minimum Um but generally, people already meet that. Um I see a lot of um much higher um amounts there Okay. Thank you. Thank you, Leah and Ray for answering that question. Um we're going to now shift back to public policy kind of intermingled uh project development questions and policy questions and this one will go to Kerwin. uh the twenty-first Century Energy Task Force is going to reconvene sometime later this year and we know that distributed generation will actually be one of the topics that will be focused on in this task force that's actually written in statute.

What do you anticipate the task force covering with respect to the issue of distributed generations? Well, that's Very, very good question and one that uh many colleagues that I've spoken to in in recent days about what to expect on the task force related to the Ds are as curious as as as I am and we all are about exactly what will be uh discussed with respect to be Es at the task force. I can't say a couple of things. Number one, uh you know, Chairman of House utilities at so who's also co chair of the task force several times publicly during the legislative session said Net metering uh would be in the context of the twenty-first century and each task force over the next 2 years.

Uh that's not specified necessarily in the legislation um but he did say that verbally a couple of committee hearings uh during the last legislative session Um what is written into uh uh statute uh with respect to the conversation is uh something like the appropriate regulation of distributed energy resources consistent with first order 22222. um What that means is uh for those unfamiliar at a very high level uh fir, the federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a quite a landmark order a few years back known as order 22222.

Uh that that allow distributed energy resources uh to compete in the wholesale marketplace uh with coal plants, gas plants, plants, and the like. So quite a landmark uh order in the context of allowing for the first time ever. uh you know and mandating that distributed energy resources are allowed to participate in the wholesale market uh uh of energy not the marketplace but the wholesale marketplace. Nevertheless, that's an important order as what we're seeing across the country is more and more aggregation of distributed energy resources by companies known as aggregator, creating virtual power plants if you will, where they're collecting different customers who owns um adding all those folks up and uh aggregating uh you know, uh uh a one megawatt of rooftop solar and that megawatt can then compete in the marketplace which will deliver additional revenues to the owners of those distributed resources.

So, we know that part of the discussion will definitely be, you know, does the state of Indiana need to do anything related to this first order with the Ers? I would imagine we'll see an informational discussion about what the first quarter says and then the discussion uh will build from there but we also have uh things such as alternative rate designs on there. We also have uh the Green zones Enterprise zones at the request of the NAACP about investments in local communities with respect to clean energy and certainly community solar is part of that conversation. So, there are multiple issues in the task force in which DER will be discussed and it's a great opportunity for advocates and the public uh to try to steer that conversation uh in a particular direction and I would encourage folks to reach out to members of the task force as well as your legislators and make sure that topics that you would like to see discussed, are discussed and there was also opportunity in the last energy task force for the public to comment uh at the end of meeting.

So, there is opportunity for public participation as well. So, unclear Answer there, Jesse. Uh we're all wondering exactly what's going to be on the agenda with respect to the is the only thing we know is that they are what the discussion will will be sort of remains to be seen but we're hoping that through input from stakeholders to public uh that we can help shape that that discussion and help frame what that discussion should look like. Thank you, Kerwin and that nicely uh uh flows into uh a question for Laura which is what can everyday citizens do to try to influence the the topics and the dynamic of the conversation that happens between uh within the context of the task force Laura, you're on mute. Okay, here. I'm back.

Okay. These are the uh legislative members of the twenty-first century uh Energy task Force that will be meeting this year and next year, I have color coded. Those in red are the Republicans um and it indicates what their hometown is and then their legislative district. So, this time there is not an equal number of uh Republicans and Democrats from the house and the senate has waited for more Republicans to serve I would say this, if you live or reside in any of these uh legislative districts and we'll show another slide in just a minute that explains the county's or the areas that these legislators cover You need to try to schedule an appointment to sit down. and or have a virtual meeting um with these legislators and educate them about the issues of Net Metering. I would encourage you to bring people who are currently Net Metering along with others who wish to net meter and explain the importance not just a homeowners but to small businesses and local units of government including schools as to why it would be important to extend this really, really important uh and we go to the next slide.

So, this helps you to understand if you're not conversing with the districts, there are specific maps that are um a little convoluted um and again, these will be the maps that will be in effect for the 2022 session of the Indiana General Assembly So, that will give you a much better idea of which counties and which areas uh these legislators uh represent. and I would very much encourage um prioritizing getting to the Republican members of the committee, the um the Democrat members of the energy Task Force people like Representative Pearce or Representative Hatfield or Senator Yoder. I think you're pretty much already on board senators from South Bend. They need a little more persuasion and education. Alright. thank you Laura for sharing that really valuable information and um this this live stream is going to be recorded and so folks who didn't get a chance to capture uh that important information on that slide, please uh definitely um uh review that uh in the recorded live stream. Okay, well the next question that we will have uh well sticking with the topic of uh the task force for just a little bit longer.

Do we know this is a question posed by Mike if the task force is going to meet virtually or in person II have uh every expectation. Those will be in person meetings with Governor Holcomb. uh requiring all state employees to work in person. Now, um III am uh almost certain that those will be in person hearings at the state house. I would be surprised if it were otherwise but I have no confirmation of that but just where things are going uh generally in Indiana State government, all evidentiary hearings that agencies are becoming in person and so I would expect that the legislature will also follow that lead basically do everything in person.

Okay, thanks Kin. Uh the next question will be to Zack Citizens need to keep talking about uh to their lawmakers about advancing legislation that will make rooftops so they're more accessible and more affordable and the five by five plan is being embraced by an array of organizations including all the ones here. Can you give our audience the gist of what the five by five plan is Sure. Thank you for that question, Jesse. So basically, it's a plan to extend and expand that Metering. Uh last year, there was legislation which I believe was mentioned a little bit earlier introduced by Senator Shelly Yoder SB 420 uh that embodied uh most of the five by five plan. Uh it's called five by five because it's a goal uh or it embodies five different ways to extend and expand uh net metering and and uh and so there's a 5 year extension of net metering. So going from a 2022 uh deadline to the end of that Metering push it out to 2027 increase the cap on net meter customers from the current 1.5% to 5%.

Um increase the maximum system size of a project that can benefit from that Metering from the current one megawatts to five megawatts and also to uh adopt what's called meter aggregation. Um so that uh a single customer that owns multiple meters can actually apply Net Metering credits to any of those meters as required. Um so those were the components of the five plan that were included in the SB. 420 as far as um the the expansion and extension of net metering. Another component is creating a real community solar program um so that customers who don't have the ability to install solar on their own roofs uh whether that's because they're they're renters or they they live somewhere that for whatever reason uh I'm allowed for solar to be installed there.

Um they can subscribe to a community solar program and receive credits on their on their electric bill as if they had solar on the roof the last component that I think is important for people to know would be uh what do we do after Net Metering goes away because eventually that even under the five by five plan, there would be an intimate Metering um and so what we advocated for as part of the five by five plan um is that instead of having an arbitrary um EDG rate which we see today as the you know roughly the wholesale rate plus 25%. Uh we would like to see an evidence-based, data driven uh public at the uh at the Indian Utility Regulatory Commission to determine what the post Net Metering landscape might look like but also expanded out to other distributed energy resources like batteries like electric vehicles and and making sure that there's a sustainable forward-looking structure for more distributed energy resources to be adopted by Hoosiers around the state.

Super. Uh thank you so much there Zach and uh one I'm going to pivot to one more practical project related question and we'll go back to again the five by five plan um and the project uh question is that if someone has installed uh a system now, uh what happens if they sell their property? Does Net Metering get inherited by the new property owner? Okay, Laura, go for it. simplest answer is yes. Um you are able to um convey that.

Uh uh you're existing that bearing um agreement to the next property owner. Um you will need to be um You need to keep all your paperwork from your interconnection agreement. for that purpose. However, and with the uh mergers that are going on in the electric utility industry, that could be extremely important to make sure that you've got your paperwork great. Um Leah, did you want to comment any further on on this very practical question or property transfer? Uh no, I was just agreeing with with Laura there that um the IURC actually made it abundantly clear that that responsibility lies with the owners to ensure the future owners rights there and I don't know how many of us keep that good track of papers especially if these are being exchanged digitally so it would make sense also to just make sure you actually print out this Net Metering document and um keep it where keep all of your safe documents for the benefit of um I mean maybe maybe the um people who inherit or otherwise are disposing of your home may not be aware of this.

So, there's also um been some suggestion that the net metering paperwork be filed publicly like with the deed of your house. So, go to the county recorder's office and have it go with your property. Um so, if something happens to you or you're not um cognizant at that time of what going on that you know those rights are protected for the good of the next owner. Super. Thank you, Leah. Um we're going to just have to, we only have time for one more question and this will again be revisiting the issue of the five by five plan and I'll I'll post this first to and and then Laura, if you have any additional comments, please weigh in and that is what is the conservative case for the five by five plan Oh well, that's a great question.

Again, one of the questions I think that uh many of us struggle with but I think the the conservative uh you idea behind the five by five plan. First of all, I think starts with energy independence. I think energy independence is a conservative idea and what is more energy independent if you will than policies that enable the self generation of your own energy on your own property. Uh I think the other conservative sort of idea behind the five by five plan is there's nothing or market about monopolies and so by by allowing policies that encourage distributed generation customer on generation, you're inviting competition into the marketplace consumers choices and not only opening up the market to more choices but also that competition will ultimately drive down prices for everybody. So, I think it's it's self reliance.

It's energy, independence and it's a it's a true free market structure whether it's competition in the marketplace and choice for customers The only thing I would add to that would be uh the principle of of somewhat conservative political uh of individuals taking personal responsibility for their energy use, and energy consumption and I think that is one that resonates again with conservatives that we shouldn't always be just looking to government that we should make investments and take responsibility for ourselves. Um and our own ways to reduce. For example, um our fossil us and to reduce the impacts of climate change and I think that's a very important additional theme to use with conservative um office holders.

Uh if I could, I'd just like to add one more quick thing which is the on the question of land use. Um something that's been increasingly um uh important in the discussions as their utilities have started to um Make plans to deploy large scale solar developments around the state. Uh the five by five plan enables much more uh solar to be deployed on existing built space um and and avoid some of the uh some of the the large developments that are uh that are planned out. I don't think we want to put those necessarily as opposed to each other but locking out rooftop solar will only expand the need for a lot of those larger developments that are increasingly controversial around the state. Thank you. And Lauren and Zach for tackling that all critical question. Um we are nearing the .

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