Solar energy for farms topic of workshop – Courier Press

Besser and others offered testimony to the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy as part of a hearing on the “state of energy” in the Bay State. Lawmakers previously heard from Baker administration officials, utility executives and Attorney General Maura Healey’s office at a hearing in April. But Gov. “Rather, we believe it is extremely important that any adjustments to the caps be accompanied by meaningful changes to the mix of incentives and proper consideration of the role of the ratepayers,” Department of Public Utilities chairwoman Angie O’Connor and Department of Energy Resources acting Commissioner Dan Burgess wrote in a net-metering task force report released in late April. “There’s only one wallet in the room, and that’s the customer,” O’Connor, who co-chaired the 17-member task force with Burgess, recently told the News Service. Utilities also oppose lifting the cap, arguing that customers without solar panels end up with higher bills. “If you raise the cap you’re raising the amount of money that customers without net-metering have to pay to support when the other customers are not paying it,” National Grid lobbyist Amy Rabinowitz said in April. In past years, utilities have floated the idea of requiring all customers, regardless of whether they produce their own electricity, to pay a minimum bill to cover the expense of maintaining lines, poles and other delivery infrastructure. Katie Rever, director of state affairs at the Solar Energy Industries Association, urged lawmakers to move on a “dual track,” lifting the net-metering cap through the end of 2016 while also asking the Baker administration to implement a long-term fix starting on Jan.
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The event will run from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. EST on June 11 at the Huntingburg Event Center, 200 E. 14th St., and will feature sessions on how solar panel/photovoltaic and solar thermal energy might fit into agricultural and livestock operations. Topics will include on-farm uses for solar photovoltaics (panels) and solar thermal, economics of modern solar systems, net metering with local power companies, USDA programs, financing, and farmer discussions. There is no fee to attend this event, but registration for materials and meals is required by June 3 to the Purdue Extension-Dubois County office at 812-482-1782. Copyright 2015 Evansville Courier & Press. All rights reserved.
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