Report: Indiana solar energy policies lag behind the rest

Solar panels

Indiana is near the bottom in nationwide solar rankings

Recent research conducted by the Center for Biological Diversity analyzed the solar energy policies of all states in the contiguous United States, and Indiana ended up being singled out as one of the states that has a long way to go to catch up with the rest.

While Indiana may not frequently be thought of as a U.S. state that has above average potential to generate electricity from solar energy — famously sunny states like Nevada, Florida and California typically come to mind — the Midwestern state, in reality, actually does have great solar potential. In fact, only 12 states in the U.S. have more potential for rooftop solar power than Indiana, the Center for Biological Diversity said in its recent report titled Throwing Shade: 10 Sunny States Blocking Distributed Solar Development.

The ten worst solar states in the U.S.

In the study, the Center for Biological Diversity highlighted regions that are “blocking distributed solar potential through overtly lacking and destructive distributed solar policy,” and targeted 10 states in particular — Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), that group of ten states owns more than a third (35 percent) of the total rooftop solar energy potential in the contiguous U.S., but accounts for just 6 percent of the total installed distributed solar capacity as of March 2016. The top ten solar states in the U.S., on the other hand, account for 86 percent of the total solar capacity in the U.S. So there’s big gap to fill and there are a lot of opportunities to fill that gap.

Indiana gets an “F”

The Center for Biological Diversity analyzed solar energy policies and regulations in each state, looking for strengths and weaknesses. In Indiana, the weaknesses far outweighed the strengths, and the state received a failing grade.

Indiana has the 13th most potential for rooftop solar energy of all U.S. states but ranks just 35th on actual installed solar capacity. So why the discrepancy? According to the report, a number of factors are dragging Indiana down, including a lack of community solar laws and weak net metering policy.

Net metering is system in which owners of residential (usually rooftop) solar installations are compensated by state utilities for unused electrical power generated by their solar arrays. Currently, at least 43 U.S. states have net metering in place in some capacity.

State lawmakers recently attempted to change net metering laws to lower rates paid to customers, but, even without this additional decrease, the state’s net metering policies are not particularly consumer-friendly. But many expect the net metering battles to linger on in Indiana, as they are in many other states.

Indianapolis just ranked high

To see the great potential that Indiana does have in the realm of solar energy, one need to look no further than it’s capital, Indianapolis. In solar capacity per capita, Indianapolis was just ranked in the top ten in the U.S.

Now, it appears that the rest of the state needs to catch up.

Source → Center for Biological Diversity