We Energies nixes controversial solar surcharge

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email
Milwaukee-based energy provider We Energies is the largest in the state. Credit: Flickr/Ron Reiring

Solar groups have welcomed Milwaukee-based energy provider We Energies' decision to drop a contentious surcharge on customers that own solar panels.

Advocacy group RENEW Wisconsin and the monopoly state utility reached an agreement on Monday. We Energies will withdraw the proposed fixed-cost recovery charge and RENEW Wisconsin will support an upcoming We Energies utility-scale solar project.

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) hailed the u-turn. Nakhia Morrissette, SEIA’s regulatory counsel and Midwest regional director, said in a statement that the proposed charge was “discriminatory, unjustified, and harmful to customers. With the charge withdrawn, our members can get back to the business of growing Wisconsin’s budding solar industry, strengthening the investment in the State’s economy that comes with it, and creating jobs in Wisconsin.”

The surcharge, first proposed in May as part of a larger rate case to the state utility regulator, drew criticism from residents, state and local officials and solar and climate groups, including the Wisconsin Solar Coalition, Vote Solar and Milwaukee 350. They felt the charge would discourage small-scale renewable energy projects and allow We Energies to monopolise the state's solar industry.

Similar 'sunshine taxes' proposed by power providers on customers who generate their own solar power have been attempted elsewhere. The Michigan state utility regulator rejected the idea in 2018 and an Iowa bill that would allow utility providers to charge solar fees failed to pass before the state legislature wrapped up its 2019 session.

The announcement comes after Milwaukee legislators passed a resolution committing the city to a carbon-free future through the creation of a new city-county task force focused on climate and economic justice.

More than 3,000 people work in Wisconsin's solar industry.

Read Next

March 25, 2021
Millions of Australian households fitted with rooftop PV could be charged for exporting electricity to the grid under new proposals that critics have warned could curb the uptake of solar systems and slow the country’s energy transition.
March 25, 2021
Thin-film laser systems equipment supplier LPKF Laser & Electronics suffered from delays in receiving new expected orders from two long-stand customers last year.
March 23, 2021
Lightsource bp has been selected to build, own and operate seven solar arrays in Pennsylvania that will provide nearly half of the state government’s electricity.
March 4, 2021
A round-up of the latest solar project news from around the world, including updates from Hanwha Q CELLS and Capital Dynamics.
March 1, 2021
Xcel Energy has announced plans to double its renewables and battery storage capacity in Colorado by 2030, as the utility progresses with efforts to reach 100% carbon-free electricity generation across its service area by 2050.
February 15, 2021
US utility Duke Energy should refile its 2020 integrated resource plan (IRP) to effectively allow for the diversity benefits of solar and storage to be captured, it has been argued by energy consulting firm E3.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
April 13, 2021
Solar Media Events
April 20, 2021
Upcoming Webinars
April 28, 2021
4:00 - 4:30 PM CET