I recently became the Chairman of the Palmetto Conservative Solar Coalition, a group dedicated to removing barriers to solar businesses and applying common sense, conservative economic principles to help further energy independence with solar energy in my home state of South Carolina.
Solar power and energy choice are inherently conservative, and as a conservative, I support the free market driven by innovation. Our founding fathers also believed in this principle of self-determination – that we, as citizens, could chart our own course and improve our lot in life. That’s true in many facets of daily life but not usually the case when it comes to our power bills. As ratepayers, most of us continue to pay our electricity bill without much thought about the rates we are charged. Instead we look at the overall bill.
Luckily, Americans do have an option to reduce their power bills. It’s called solar energy. A few years ago, while I served as Chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, Governor Nikki Haley broke down barriers to energy choice by signing a net metering law. Net metering is a policy that provides consumers who have solar with fair credit for power they generate and send to the grid and their neighbors. Essentially, it allows homeowners to spin their electricity meters backwards for a change. This policy has created thousands of new jobs in South Carolina and has proven successful in saving customers money each month. Kentucky’s current net metering law is working as well and can continue to work for the The Bluegrass state
In South Carolina, we occasionally hear about subsidies. Conservatives don’t like subsidies. Net metering is no subsidy. Time and time again, studies have shown that net metering benefits the grid and puts downward pressure on rates. Our ability to choose where our power comes from and get fair credit for the energy we produce is an important piece of America's energy future. Net metering will grow the economy, protect thousands of jobs, and create much-needed energy choice for any state. Further, net metering fosters private investment into the grid - with solar companies and homeowners working together to build energy sources. As a Republican, I prefer this private approach rather than power plants built by monopoly utilities and costs that are socialized across all ratepayers.
H.227 is wrong for Kentucky because it subverts energy choice and the free market. I’m hopeful that lawmakers will continue to remove barriers and allow solar energy to thrive as an option for all Americans.