Letter: Make solar energy accessible and affordable for all Utah families

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) LJ Jenkins, with Elan Solar, installs solar panels on a Santaquin home on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020.

As a 40-year Utah resident who has embraced solar energy at my home for the last eight years, I write to share my concern regarding the current state of rooftop solar policies in our state. Having experienced the many benefits firsthand, I strongly encourage our legislators to take decisive action in making solar energy accessible and affordable for all Utah families.

Utah residents served by Rocky Mountain Power are facing inadequate compensation for the solar energy they contribute to the grid, adding to the financial obstacles that deter many from adopting solar power. Senate Bill 189 offers a promising solution by updating rooftop solar policies to ensure fair compensation, providing much-needed predictability for those contributing clean energy to our grid.

Rooftop solar is a gamechanger for Utah. With some of the most sunshine in the country, we should do everything we can to harness this resource locally and make our electricity supply more reliable and resilient. As our population grows, promoting a diversified energy supply becomes paramount, and supporting the expansion of solar aligns perfectly with these goals.

Installing solar at my home has lowered my electricity bills and allowed me to take control of my energy usage. Every Utahn should have the opportunity to experience these benefits. The current compensation rate, set at around 50% of residential electricity rates and subject to annual recalculations, poses a barrier for many, especially those with limited financial means.

Let’s empower Utah residents with a simpler, more reliable rate that makes going solar an affordable and straightforward choice for everyone. By fostering a favorable legislative environment, we can attract solar investments, benefit local businesses, and position Utah as a leader in sustainable energy practices.

I urge our lawmakers to support this crucial legislation to create a more affordable energy future for all Utah families.

Randy Hartwig, Salt Lake City

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