The natural resource economy is declining.
Oil, gas, and coal production have propped up Wyoming’s economy for decades, but these industries are on the decline. We cannot expect to keep good jobs, good schools, and a good quality of life in our state until we diversify our economy beyond minerals. If a new industry is trying to take hold, state lawmakers shouldn’t stand in the way.
Solar can be part of the solution.
Rooftop solar power is one of the fastest-growing industries in the country: In Wyoming, it supports about 150 good-paying jobs. And investments in rooftop solar and other small-scale renewable energy systems have proven to be good investments for homeowners, small businesses, schools, and local governments. But for the past several years, some state lawmakers have pushed for changes that would stop our rooftop solar industry in its tracks — driven by unproven claims from monopoly utility companies and a general distaste for renewable energy, which is seen as a threat to our fossil fuel industries.
WHAT IS NET METERING?
If you install a rooftop solar system, it might generate more power than your household can use on long, sunny days. This excess electricity is fed into the grid and can be used by neighbors. Net metering is a policy that allows owners of these systems to receive credit for the power they contribute to the grid, which can offset future utility costs. Like all ratepayers, net-metered customers pay monthly service charges to their local utility company.
Sounds great right? It is! Net metering allows citizens to get a fair return on power they generate. This lowers monthly utility bills and makes it possible for average people to afford the cost of installing rooftop solar. And yes, it allows Wyomingites to generate clean energy right in their own communities while also supporting good jobs.
The most recent attempt in the Wyoming Legislature to weaken or eliminate our net metering law is Senate File 16, New Net Metering Systems. There is no other way to say it, this bill would kill rooftop solar and local jobs. Overwhelming public opposition has stopped similar bills in the last two years, and we can do it again. Follow the Wyoming Outdoor Council for updates: We’ll keep you informed about this bill and any future net metering legislation, and let you know when you can take action.