With the Missouri primary elections taking place recently, I wanted to bring up some key legislation related to the solar industry. In the past, Missouri lawmakers haven’t received the warmest welcome to their endeavors to promote solar energy. However, it looks like that is changing. It seems that solar energy is finally on the rise in Missouri, so let’s take a closer look at some of the changes lawmakers have made that affect the adoption of solar energy.
Senate Bill No. 629
First filed on December 1, 2015, Senate Bill No. 629 attempts to increase net metering within the state. For those of you who weren’t aware, net metering is an agreement with the power company that connects your system to the grid and allows for you to get credited for the excess of power your system generates. Not only does the bill aim to bolster the number of devices that qualify for net metering, but it also increases the cap from 100 kilowatts all the way up to an entire megawatt.
Senate Bill No. 630
The government is even going as far as encouraging the development of public and community solar gardens. While community solar panels are certainly not a new idea, this is relatively new in Missouri. The adoption of such communal solar energy programs would help communities drastically reduce their energy expenditures and promote clean energy. Though we are likely a long way away from this becoming the norm, Senate Bill No. 630 is certainly a step in the right direction.
Senate Bill No. 631
Filed on the same date as Senate Bill No. 629, this new bill offers protection to renewable energy consumers from homeowner’s associations. For one reason or another, some homeowner’s associations have rules or regulations in place that can affect whether or not a homeowner can install solar energy on their home.
However, court rulings in the past have determined that since property deeds and other legal documentation don’t expressly forbid the use of solar panels, homeowners are not required to remove their solar panels. With the adoption of this bill, life will be much easier for those who want to invest in solar technologies.
House Bill No. 1548
Last but not least, House Bill No. 1548 proposes amendments that will help create incentives to entice investors in public utilities to create a framework to promote communal solar gardens. The bill doesn’t force utility companies to produce, create, or manage solar gardens, though. Such incentives include tax deductions, rebates, and credits to encourage other organizations and communities to adopt solar technologies.
Even though solar technologies are becoming more and more accepted today than ever before, Missouri and a lot of the Midwest still has a long way to go. Fortunately, for residents of Missouri, the government is making great efforts to promote the use of this incredible renewable energy and it’s up to use to stay on top of it, and vote whenever we can!