Local Utah Businesses Advocate to Protect Solar Industry
New RMP Proposal Could Kill Rooftop Solar in the State
September 29, 2020, Salt Lake City, UT – Today, 20 Utah businesses came out against the local utility, PacifiCorp subsidiary Rocky Mountain Power, proposal which would prevent families and businesses from affording rooftop solar on their homes and buildings (full list of businesses at the bottom of press release). The proposal would reduce the export solar credit rate by 84 percent — which would make Utah’s solar export credit the lowest in the entire country, despite the fact that Utah has some of the best solar resources — a move that would effectively kill the solar industry in Utah.
“Rocky Mountain Power’s efforts to kill Utah’s solar industry just doesn’t make sense to a local solar business like ours. Why should our industry be crippled by a monopoly utility company that does not want competition and wants to take away a customer’s ability to choose how they get their energy?” said Tom Mills, Technical Sales and Policy Advocate at Creative Energies Solar. “Between the pandemic, the earthquake and the down-slope wind event, we learned just how resilient solar energy is during a crisis. And so did Utahns – our phones were ringing off the hook with inquiries about solar and battery storage. Our company has been in business for 20 years providing folks with safe, reliable, clean energy. We want to be around for 20 more.”
An export credit rate is the price individuals who choose to produce their own energy get for sharing their energy with the public through the utility. When individuals produce their own energy, a fair export credit rating system encourages investment in solar panels so that the excess energy is passed back to the grid for public consumption. When this happens, an individual’s meter actually runs in reverse. For utilities like RMP, which gets 60 percent of its power from coal plants, receiving excess solar energy means the utility can cut the carbon pollution that exacerbates the climate crisis and poisons our air and water.
“Utah prides itself as a state that champions industry and innovation, yet this latest proposal by Rocky Mountain Power would spell disaster for rooftop solar, one of our fastest growing and most innovative new industries. To mitigate the economic hardships posed by the climate crisis and the COVID-19 crisis, we must build the foundation for a vibrant solar energy industry in Utah. And that unequivocally requires us to reject Rocky Mountain Power’s new solar rate proposal. Utahns have the right to choose clean energy.” said Jonathan M. Ruga, Chief Executive Officer at Sentry Financial.
“The investment we made in solar at our 12,000 sq ft Publik flagship in 2012 was a no-brainer. The ability to offset 100% of our coffee roastery’s operations, and also reduce our electricity costs, was a win for us and for our community,” said Missy Greis of Publik Coffee Roasters. “We are the only solar powered roastery in Utah that has also incorporated an oxidizer into our roasting operations. At Publik we believe in, Quality over Quantity, Community over Corporate , and Planet over Profit; Our company’s dedication to sustainability and air quality issues is resolute.”
“As the CEO of Smart Wave Solar (operating exclusively in Utah) I speak on behalf of our 58 employees and their families (along with the other 7000 people working in the solar industry in Utah, along with their families) when I ask the Utah Public Service Commission to not make Utah a net metering guinea pig,” said Ryan Stucki, CEO of Smart Wave Solar. “We strongly urge you to not only reject the proposed changes, but change net metering back to one to one. At a time when the economy and job market have been rocked by Covid-19, this isn’t the time to hurt our local economy further by crippling the solar industry. Instead, we ask that you reevaluate net metering again in two years when there is more data and better precedents throughout the country.”
List of Businesses Signed-On (read full letter here):
Publik Coffee Roasters
Intermountain Wind & Solar
Codale Electric Supply
The Solaria Corporation
Mark Miller Toyota
Hunt Electric Inc.
Torrey House Press
Wasatch Waldorf Charter School
Smart Wave Solar
Valpak of Salt Lake City