Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has signed a bill into law that will sharply curtail the benefit available to those who install solar panels.
Tuesday was the last day the Republican could veto or sign the bill, which critics contend is part of a broader nationwide push by utilities to seize control of the emerging solar market.
Holcomb says he understands those concerns, but signed the bill because the benefit will be phased out slowly.
“I support solar as an important part of Indiana’s comprehensive energy mix,” Holcomb said in a statement. “I understand the concerns some have expressed, but this legislation ensures that those who currently have interests in small solar operations will not be affected for decades.”
Indiana’s investor-owned utility companies lobbied for the measure during the legislative session. They say solar panel owners who feed excess power to the grid are compensated too generously, a rate that will be drastically lowered under the measure.
Critics say Indiana’s approach is too Draconian and will muscle out smaller companies, like solar panel installers.
“SB 309 is counterproductive in our quest to retain and attract solar energy jobs, which are growing 12 times faster than the U.S. private sector, in that it imposes five needless roadblocks to investment,” said Hoosier Environmental Council Executive Director Jesse Kharbanda in a statement.