Kentucky solar movement continues to grow despite setback in legislature | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Kentucky solar movement continues to grow despite setback in legislature

The Solar Celebration at West 6th Farm on April 28 near Frankfort was a bittersweet event. Following the passage of the anti-net metering bill, SB 100, in the 2019 General Assemnbly, it seemed a bit strange to be celebrating.

SB 100 was definitely a significant setback for the solar movement in Kentucky. However, in the past few years there has been a great surge in support for solar energy in Kentucky and to me, this is what we were all celebrating. SB100 passed in spite of overwhelming popular opposition to the bill. Despite spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on lobbying and campaign contributions to the Republican Party, it took the utilities three years to cram their anti-solar bill through the legislature. 

The support we received from many legislators was another hopeful sign. During the House floor debate, many representatives spoke out against SB 100 and in support of solar energy and the need to grow a clean energy economy in Kentucky. There were even several legislators who cited the urgency of climate change as a reason to oppose SB 100. So while the utilities still have deep pockets and powerful influence in Frankfort, there is a growing tide of support for solar and a clean energy future.

 I started working as an advocate for solar energy in Kentucky in 2003 with Appalachia – Science in the Public Interest and the Kentucky Solar Partnership. Back then, it seemed there were just a handful of people scattered around the state who were passionate about solar energy.

It was inspiring for me to arrive at the Solar Celebration at West 6th Farm and find that the parking lot was filled and overflowing. One month after suffering a difficult defeat in the legislature, hundreds of people gathered at an out-of-the-way farm to celebrate their continuing enthusiasm for solar energy. This gives me hope.