Action Alert: Speak up for community solar

Community solar may be coming to Ohio! House Bill 450, which would enable community solar projects in the state, has been introduced and will have its second hearing for proponent testimony on Wednesday, November 10, at 10:30 a.m., at a meeting of the Public Utilities Committee in Room 121 of the Ohio Statehouse.

Please consider submitting testimony in support of HB 450. The deadline to submit testimony (either written or in person) and a witness slip is 24 hours in advance of the hearing, or before Tuesday, November 9, at 10:30 a.m. Send these items to PublicUtilitiesCommittee@ohiohouse.gov.

We want to communicate that community solar will help us make solar accessible and equitable for all. We want to put solar in vacant lots, parking lots, and on community buildings so our neighbors can all participate and receive that energy. We want to use our own dollar to buy into the future of Ohio’s energy system, and generate local clean energy.

Here are the basic points in HB 450:

  • Community solar projects allow for customers to offset a portion of their electric consumption with energy generated by the project through subscriptions.
  • Allows the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to approve a total of:
    • 2000 MW of community solar statewide
    • An additional 1000 MW of community solar in distressed areas such as brownfields, mainly in Appalachia
  • Community solar projects are capped at
    • 10 MW each for regular projects
    • 45 MW each for projects in distressed areas
  • Subscribers can get no more than 120% of their average annual electricity use through a community solar project
  • PUCO would have to create the administrative rules for a community solar program within 6 months of the bill’s effective date (usually 90 days after being signed into law)
  • PUCO would review the community solar program and submit a report to the legislature annually 

Here is how to write testimony:

  • In the header of your document, put
    • Your name and any organization you are representing (if you have one – you can also testify as an individual)
    • That this is Proponent testimony for HB 450
    • That it’s before the Ohio House Public Utilities Committee
    • The date of the hearing, which is November 10, 2021
  • In the first paragraph:
    • Address the committee as follows: Chairman Hoops, Vice Chair Ray, Ranking Member Smith, and members of the House Public Utilities Committee.
    • Thank them for providing this opportunity to provide testimony in support of HB 450, which would allow the development of community solar projects in Ohio
    • Identify yourself – your name, any organization you may be representing, and why you are interested in this legislation
  • Next, provide your testimony as to why you support community solar. 
    • It can be general reasons, but more specific reasons will be stronger
    • Draw from your own knowledge and experience
    • Tell a personal story if you have one
  • Keep your testimony to no more than 5 minutes speaking, and 3 minutes would be better. 
  • Concluding paragraph
    • Recap your testimony
    • Restate your support for HB 450
    • Thank the committee again for the opportunity to testify
    • In in person, say you would be happy to take any questions. Usually they don’t have questions of regular citizens, but your testimony is powerful in showing support for this bill. 

Here are some links to give you some ideas:

It would be great if you could make it to the Statehouse to testify in person on Wednesday, but even if you can’t, you can submit written testimony. We would like to show a groundswell of support for community solar.