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Lawmakers Advance Hardwon Rooftop Solar Compromise

Judy Fahys/KUER News
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) had his staff help draft the compromise that lawmakers would memorialize in SB141, which lawmakers are considering now. Homeowners, solar companies and Rocky Mountain Power all wanted more stability for their costs.

Utah homeowners and industry have been looking for a way for years to make rooftop solar costs more predictable. Lawmakers are advancing legislation that provides stability that balances the impacts of a rapidly growing industry.

Sen. Curt Bramble (R-Provo) has called his bill a “grand compromise.” It reflects a delicate agreement struck last year by Rocky Mountain Power, the solar industry, consumer watchdogs and environmental advocates. 

“This bill is going to make it easier for Utah homeowners to go solar over the next couple of years," said Josh Craft, director of government affairs for Utah Clean Energy.

The heart of the agreement protects rates through 2035 for homeowners who installed rooftop solar — or signed up for it — before last Nov. 15. Rocky Mountain Power had complained it was crediting a growing number of solar customers too much for the energy they sell back to the power grid — what's called "net metering."

“We think this has a pretty good shot of making it through the session,” said Craft.

S.B. 141 scaled its first hurdle this week. It could be taken up by the full Senate any day.

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