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11/23/2018 6:10:00 PM
Indiana solar advocates stress net metering not dead
Solar energy advocates John and Carolyn Vann. Staff photo by Seth Slabaugh
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Solar energy advocates John and Carolyn Vann. Staff photo by Seth Slabaugh

Seth Slabaugh, Star Press

MUNCIE —  Retired Ball State University professors Carolyn and John Vann used to attract crowds of several dozen people to meetings at which the couple would sign some up to add solar panels to their homes.

Nowadays, the two grass roots solar advocates are frustrated. "We hold a meeting and no one comes," Carolyn Vann said.

A recent meeting at the Kennedy Library drew an audience of just two people, and they were invited by John Vann, who knew them from the YMCA.

The Vanns set up for a presentation in Yorktown and no one attended.

The couple attributes the lack of solar interest/awareness to net metering, which Indiana's Senate Bill 309 changed in 2017.

"That's one of the things that has made it more difficult for us," John Vann said. "There was so much press coverage of the bill and so much debate, and now no one's talking about it."

When Vann spoke to some BSU faculty members recently about going solar, he learned they mistakenly believed "you don't get net metering any more."

In fact, SB 309, championed by the state's powerful utility industry, phases out net metering — which requires utilities to pay solar users for any excess energy that is created by their solar panels — but it didn't immediately eliminate net metering.

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