Kaysville residents angry after city council temporarily cuts credits for solar panels

Posted at 10:37 PM, Jul 14, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-15 00:37:07-04

KAYSVILLE, Utah -- Solar panels are getting more expensive for one northern Utah community and residents are pushing back after the city council cut credits.

Dozens of solar panels cover John Loveless' home in Kaysville. It's an expensive investment he made five years ago but he expected it to pay off in the long run.

“I wanted to have cleaner energy and offset costs of electricity,” Loveless said.

During the summer, Loveless produces more energy than he can use. That excess power is put into the grid to power his neighbors’ homes. He then receives a one for one credit for each kilowatt.

“I would be giving up probably 7 megawatt hours a year if I didn't have metering,” Loveless said.

But that's what could happen to new solar installations in Kaysville. The city council voted unanimously for a temporary suspension of net metering.

“We're deeply concerned that Kaysville has essentially shut down efforts from folks to generate their own clean energy and be part of the solution to have cleaner air and cleaner energy,” said Matt Pacenza, executive director of HEAL Utah.

HEAL Utah promotes renewable energy and Pacenza said this is a big step backward.

But Kaysville power says the number of homes with solar panels is growing and that is putting an undue burden on other residents.

“We didn't want the non-solar customers subsidizing the new solar customers so we are gathering information from all sources,” said Bruce Rigby, Resource Manager for Kaysville Power and Light.

But residents argue there's no need for a change. With nearly 9,000 ratepayers in Kaysville only 50 households have rooftop solar panels.

“I can't even imagine or fathom how this one half of one percent of all their customers is having some huge financial impact on the rest of the system,” Pacenza said.

The moratorium set by the city council could last six months but Kaysville power hopes to come to a decision much sooner than that.