Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Kentucky utility gets OK for solar farm that will use voluntary customer participation; neighbors upset

Solar panels at the utility's other "farm"
A Kentucky utility will build its first voluntary-participation "community solar" farm near some complaining rural and residential neighbors after the state Public Service Commission said the facility was too small to fall under its jurisdiction.

LG&E and KU Energy will erect 12,000 solar panels on 35 acres in Shelby County, just east of Louisville. The farm will produce 4 megawatts; the PSC's jurisdiction on locations begins at 10 megawatts.

"The other key issue is whether the parent of Louisville Gas & Electric and Kentucky Utilities had structured its new, voluntary subscription-based Solar Share program's finances so that customers who don't participate won't pay for it," James Bruggers reports for The Courier-Journal. "Solar Share 'allows for cost recovery and a return on invested capital by participants so that there is minimal cost sharing by non-participants," the PSC's order said.

"Customers will pay a $40 subscription fee and then a monthly fee of $6.29, per 250-watt increment," Bruggers writes. "That's enough to generate between 17- and 37-kilowatt hours per month, compared to a typical customer's home use of about 1,000-kilowatt hours a month, officials have said. Customers will also get a credit on their bills for electricity generated from those solar panels.

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