Environment

Kentucky has gotten mixed grades in a nationwide report card of states’ solar energy policies.

The report from nonprofit advocacy group Interstate Renewable Energy Council grades each state on two factors: solar net metering and interconnection policies. Net metering allows customers to get a credit for generating electricity and sending it to the grid, while interconnection refers to the technical logistics involved in connecting renewable energy projects with the grid.

“They do really go hand-in-hand,” said IREC Regulatory Director Sara Baldwin Auck. “With that said, states often pursue one or the other independently. Sometimes they get considered together, but they are, in effect, separate policies.”

Using a set scoring criteria, IREC assigned numbers, then corresponding letter grades to each state. Kentucky got a “B” for its net metering policies. The state allows net metering, but only up to 30 kilowatts, and IREC notes the state could help spur more solar development by increasing that limit.

But for interconnection, Kentucky was one of several states that was graded “F.”

“If you’re going to build a house, the first step you take is to build a strong foundation,” Auck said. “Interconnection policies really are the foundation of market growth, so it’s important to get those right.”

Auck said Kentucky doesn’t have formally adapted interconnection procedures at the state level, which could inadvertently be holding back the growth of solar energy in the commonwealth.

Erica Peterson is WFPL's Director of News and Programming.