Two bills currently being considered by the Joint Corporations Interim Committee could put an end to the rooftop solar business in Wyoming. At a time when our elected officials should be focusing on diversifying our economy and creating new employment opportunities in our state, some are actively seeking to limit the growth in Wyoming of one of the fastest-growing industries and job markets in the country.
Under current law, when a homeowner, school or small business with rooftop solar panels generates more power than is needed on sunny days, the excess electricity is sent to the grid for use by neighbors. The property owner is then allowed credit for the extra energy supplied to the grid, which he can use later in the year to cover the costs of future electricity needs. This is called net-metering.
Currently, Wyoming law allows only small residential-sized systems (25 kilowatts or less) to be eligible for net-metering.
One bill being considered would lower the value of energy produced from small net-metered facilities by more than half, charge solar users for the energy they self-generate and use onsite, and require costly new installations. The other bill would repeal our current net-metering law entirely.
Passage of either of these bills would destroy an emerging industry in our state. There are currently 10 small businesses in Wyoming that provide solar installations, accounting for approximately 140 jobs. Our elected officials should be supporting these businesses. They should be considering legislation that helps to grow jobs and keep Wyoming as a viable place to make a living, not laws that will shut businesses down and send our jobs and young people to other states.