Protect the Free Market Solar Industry in Indiana

You have the right to harness the sunshine on your property! Solar_-_installing_a_solar_array

Generating your own solar power is an important part of building a more sustainable community for a variety of reasons including energy freedom, energy choice, and energy independence.   Homeowners, businesses, schools, congregations, and governments have a right to harvest free, clean energy from the sunshine on their property.  Rooftop solar prices are more affordable every day making ownership more viable, and giving Hoosiers a free market choice for their electricity. However, an important part of the economics of rooftop solar is Net Metering.  This is a policy that helps to ensure solar owners are compensated fairly for the power and benefits they provide to the grid.

In 2011, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), under the Daniels' administration, updated and expanded the Net Metering rule to include all customer classes and systems up to 1 megawatt.  This expansion to the rule moved Indiana from a "D" to a "B" rating for Best Practices in Net Metering Policies.  Indiana's Net Metering policy is working well.  In fact, the rooftop solar at the Cool Creek Nature Center is a perfect example of a rooftop solar project that is financially viable because of the current Net Metering policy.  Indiana should conitnue to explore best practices in net metering to aim for an "A" rating.

In 2015, the utility lobby introduced HB 1320 that would have killed net metering. Click here to read more about HB 1320.


How does Net Metering work? Solar_meter_running_backward_at_Cool_Creek_Nature_Center2

When solar panels are producing more electricity than is needed at the time, the excess electricity is delivered to the local distribution grid and the electric meter runs backwards.  The solar customer pays the net difference between the electricity that was used and the electricity that was delivered back to the local grid. With the current Net Metering policy, solar owners are effectively credited at retail rates and compensated fairly for the power and benefits they provide to the grid. The excess solar electricity delivered to the local distribution grid is then used by the neighbor.  The electric utitlity then sells this excess solar electricity to the neighbor at the full retail price.



Rooftop Solar Provides More Benefits than Costs

Many studies have looked at the costs and benefits of solar power and  found more benefits than costs to the grid, and that solar owners, by investing in their own solar panels, are actually paying more than their fair share to support the grid.  These studies found that their solar panels are benefitting the grid by producing power at the most expensive time of day, during periods of peak demand, and delivering it to their neighbors.  Also, because solar power is generated and consumed locally, solar owners reduce the load on transmission and distribution lines, which reduces the cost of the grid.  In addition, their solar panels offset the extra amount of electricity that the Utility would have had to produce at a remote, centralized power plant due to electricity losses during transmission over power lines.

The Brookings Institute analyzed several studies conducted by various groups and concluded the following

"So what does the accumulating national literature on costs and benefits of net metering say?  Increasingly it concludes— whether conducted by PUCs, national labs, or academics — that the economic benefits of net metering actually outweigh the costs and impose no significant cost increase for non-solar customers.  Far from a net cost, net metering is in most cases a net benefit—for the utility and for non-solar rate-payers…..In short, while the conclusions vary, a significant body of cost-benefit research conducted by PUCs, consultants, and research organizations provides substantial evidence that net metering is more often than not a net benefit to the grid and all ratepayers."

Here are other analysis of multiple studies: 



The Potential for Solar in Indiana is Huge

Indiana has more solar resources than Germany, which has over 36,000 megawatts of installed solar PV, ahead of China and the United States, and set a record in meeting 74% of its single-day electricity demand last year.  Yet, Indiana has less than 0.3% of installed solar capacity compared to Germany.  Clearly, there's a huge potential for growth in the solar sector.



The free market solar economy is growing in Indiana Solar_is_Growing_IURC

The number of solar installations in Indiana has grown in recent years.  According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Indiana's solar output increased 7-fold from less than 500 kilowatts in 2010 to more than 3,500 in 2012. As of June 2014, according to the Indiana Office of Energy Development, Indiana has 93 MW (93,000 kilowatts) of solar PV installed.   In the U.S., there are now more than half a million solar rooftops on homes and businesses, according to GreenTechMedia.   The factors driving the rapid growth in solar include a drop in the cost of solar equipment, technology improvements as well as favorable federal, state and utility policies according to Purdue's 2014 Indiana Renewable Energy Study.


. Solar_is_more_affordable

This growth has fostered economic development and jobs.  According to GreenTechMedia, more than $15 billion was invested in American solar projects in 2014, and the average cost of home solar project has dropped 60% since 2008.   Hoosier jobs in the solar industry grew 178 percent in 2013, according to the Solar Foundation. In 2014, solar jobs in the US increased by 30,000; 20 times faster than the national average, according to The Alliance for Solar Choice.  As pricing continues to drop, Indiana is on the verge of a booming solar economy.

Why China is Dominating the Solar Industry, Scientific American, December 2016



Legislation intended to block the free market solar industry netmeteringmap2014

The growth in distributed generation is competition for the Utilities.

As introduced during the 2015 Legislative Session, House Bill 1320 was designed to squelch the free market solar industry by making rooftop solar prohibitively expensive for Hoosiers. The Utilities want to kill free market competition and grab the solar market for its own electric monopoly. There are Net Metering polices in 44 states.  This bill would have killed net metering and set Indiana back compared to the rest of the country.  It would have put a growing number of solar installers out of business, killing jobs, and resulting in higher solar prices for Hoosiers.  It would have killed energy choice, energy freedom and energy independence for Hoosiers.




Legislators should protect the free market solar industry in Indiana and vote NO on bills aimed at killing the solar industry.

Through legislation, electric utilities are seeking to Buttons_Take_Action_orange

  • pay less for  rooftop solar power, less than the value of distributed generation
  • add fixed charges
  • change the interconnection rules

But the Utilities have not shown any evidence to justify this.  It's not fair to pass legislation that is so disruptive to a growing free market industry with no evidence that it's needed or justified. The IURC needs to conduct an independent and impartial study of the costs and benefits of rooftop solar to determine its true value. The study should also quantify the real fixed costs for generation, transmission and distribution.  According to an Arizona study, the true market value meets or exceeds the retail rate from benefits that come from avoiding "expensive and polluting conventional power and power plants; reduced investments in transmission and distribution infrastructure; reduced electricity lost during transportation over power lines ... and savings on the cost of meeting renewable energy requirements."


Here are some quotes from Tea Party conservative Debbie Dooley:

“If you are protecting monopolies, you are violating free market principles. In Indiana, elected officials who are trying to take away incentives for solar apparently don’t mind giving incentives to big corporations. They just don’t want individuals to have them.”

“Choice is free market and a lot of Republicans support the free market except when it comes to government-created utility monopolies that make a guaranteed profit off of building new power plants.”

“For years, conservatives have been brainwashed into believing solar is bad. In the states where I am active, we don’t hesitate to call out those politicians and now a different message is being delivered. I look forward to coming to Indiana and delivering this message.”

“At some point, we are going to have to look at the structure of the monopoly utilities.”

Check out this audio  -  GreenTechMedia Interview with Debbie Dooley Green Tea Coalition 13 min

Related News

Additional Resources
Economic Trade-Offs Of Owning vs. Leasing Solar, 1/29/15

Report shows Solar is Cheaper than the Grid in 42 of the 50 largest US Cities.

The Benefits and Costs of Solar Distributed Generation for Arizona Public Service

8 Solar Trends to Follow in 2015

Arizona's New Fee Puts a Dent in Rooftop Solar Economics.

APS, solar industry at odds on value of power from rooftop units.

Distributed Solar Energy Provides $34 Million in Benefits to Arizona Ratepayers.

Can S.C.'s groundbreaking net metering policy spread in the Southeast?

Tea Partyers in Florida help Launch Ballot Initiative for Third-Party-Owned Solar.

Florida Ballot Drive seeks to boost Solar Energy in Sunshine State.

Green Gift Shop Vendor Information



Thanks for your interest in the Green Gift Shop. Our goal is to offer green holiday shopping options to make gift-giving a little greener and more gentle on the Earth!

We encourage you to read this vendor information2015_The_Green_Gift_Shopl_-_Collage_for_website__narrow BEFORE filling out the application.


What are the Green Gift Shop hours, location and dates?

The 4th annual Green Gift Shop will be held Wednesday, November 15, 2017 from 1:30 - 7:00 p.m. at the Carmel Clay Public Library.   Vendor set-up maybe begin at 12:30 p.m.
Click here to see mapquest.

Click here to visit Green Gift Shop webpage.

What products/services are permitted for sale?

Products/Services must be environmentally-friendly in some way.  The purpose of the Green Gift Shop is to provide families with a green alternative to holiday shopping and gift-giving.  Your products/services must be local, organic, natural, recycled, reused, repurposed or environmentally-friendly in some way to qualify for the Green Gift Shop. We are open to consider other ways in which a product or service is eco-friendly - just let us know in your application.

Alcoholic beverages are NOT permitted at the Carmel library.

Are there other facts I should know?

  • Vendors will be able to display and sell their products to the public and keep their profits.
  • Vendors must have an education component to help attendees learn how your products or services are eco-friendly.
  • One 5’ display table with 2 chairs will be provided.
  • Vendor name will be listed on the Carmel Green Initiative event web page.
  • Wifi is available.
  • Electricity is available to limited tables.  If you need access to electricity, please let us know.  Bring an extension cord.
  • Vendors must agree to be at the Green Gift Shop the entire time.
  • Vendors may unload at the main entrance by the circle.  Click here to see unloading directions & map.
  • There is no cost to participate but all vendors are required to become members of Carmel Green Initiative for this year.  See how to become a member below.

What are the details in regards to new vendors?

  • Vendors from 2016, whom we invite back and become, Carmel Green Initiative members by October 1, 2017  will be allowed to choose their spaces. See how to become a member below.
  • Carmel Green Initiative reserves the right to place or move Vendors at tables if necessary.
  • Carmel Green Initiative will analyze what we need at the Green Gift Shop in the way of products & services … what we have too much of, what we don’t have enough of, etc.  Vendors will be selected based on the entire range of products/services they wish to sell. Our goal is to offer a variety of green gift options for visitors and make it profitable for our vendors.

How can I become a member?

  • While there is no fee to participate in the Green Gift Shop, vendors are required to join Carmel Green Initiative annually to support our programs.
  • There are several membership levels, however you can become a member for as little as $25.
  • Click here to become a member.


  • If you would like to be considered, please fill out the application, providing as much information as possible. Please remember that filling out the form does not mean that you have been selected.
  • If you filled out a vendor application before and your products are the same, you do not need to fill one out again.  Just renew your Carmel Green Initiative membership for 2017 and let us know you want to participate!
  • Click here to apply.


Thanks again for your interest in the Green Gift Shop!

If interested, please contact Madelyn at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 317-815-9941.




Vote NO on SB 412
Senate Bill 412 Demand-side Management, weak energy efficiency bill  SB_412__MEEA_analysis_of_EE_in_Indiana_with_notes
Bill Origin: Governor Pence 
Authored by: Sen. Jim Merritt
Co-sponsor: Rep Koch
2015 Legislative Session
A robust and cost effective energy-efficiency program that saves Hoosiers money will help build more sustainable and prosperous communities in Indiana.  However, SB 412 allows Utilities to set their own weak goals, and also guarantees they will make a profit by allowing them to charge customers for energy they no longer use.  Hoosiers would be better off without SB 412.
  • Sadly,  SB 340 (2014 Legislative session) dismantled the state's most effective energy efficiency program. According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy 2014 scorecard, Indiana dropped from 27th to 40th as a result of SB340 which allowed industrials to opt out and ended the Energizing Indiana program for homes, businesses, schools and congregations, commercials and industrials.
  • Because of a void in state leadership that’s willing to set a statewide energy savings goal, Utilities have returned to setting their own weaker targets and programs. As shown in the graph, the energy savings for 2015 are 47% less than the savings for 2014. Click here to see graph.
  • Reducing energy waste and increasing energy savings should be a high priority for Indiana as it saves our energy resources and saves money which is good for the local economy and reduces environmental impact. Gov. Pence promised to introduce his own EE program in 2015, but we are concerned because SB 412 appears to let the Utilities call the shots.
  • SB 412 explicitly prohibits the IURC from setting EE goals and allows Utilities to set their own energy efficiency targets and administer their own EE programs. Utilities are required to submit energy efficiency plans every 3 years that include EE goals, programs to meet those goals, budgets and costs, and independent evaluation, measurement and verification.
  • SB 412 also prohibits third party administration of EE programs as was the case with Energizing Indiana.
  • These provisions mean that instead of having the program efficiencies and transparency of a single statewide program, there will be 5 separate energy efficiency programs, one for each investor-owned electric utility.  This will result in administrative inefficiencies, and unnecessary and redundant overhead. These inefficiencies will increase overall costs for Hoosiers, and make transparency more difficult.  It is short-sighted for the legislature to pass a bill prohibiting the IURC from setting statewide EE goals because it may be necessary and desirable to do so again in the future.  Limiting the IURC's authority in this way can be done through an executive order, and does not require the general assembly.
  • Further, SB 412 allows Utilities to recover all associated "program costs" through a rate adjustment mechanism.  Costs include direct and indirect costs of energy efficiency programs, costs associated with the evaluation, measurement, and verification of program results, "lost revenues" and financial incentives.
  • Of particular concern, SB 412 allows Utilities to recover "Lost Revenues” which are the fixed costs the utility is unable to recover as a result of implementing energy efficiency programs. This provision means customers will be charged for energy they don't use…without any time limits on how long. States that have allowed collection of lost revenues have set a three year limit to protect ratepayers.  We believe in supporting the grid, but we think there are more cost-effective and fairer ways to accomplish that.  And, to benefit the local economy, customers should receive the full economic benefit of their energy conservation efforts.
  • These provisions – “program costs”, “lost revenues” and incentives will result in very expensive energy efficiency programs that will not be cost effective. The Utilities have eagerly supported this energy efficiency bill, not just because it allows them to set their own weak goals, but because it guarantees they will make a profit on energy they no longer sell.  Hoosiers would be better off without SB 412.

News & Resources:


Cleared Senate Utilities Comm 7-3, passed the Senate 42 - 8 , and passed out of the House Utilities Committee  along party lines, 10-3, and passed the House 72 to 26.  See committee votes below.

SB 412 now goes to the governor's desk. Once it reaches his desk, he has 7 days to sign it. Click here to see the Governor’s bill watch list which will tell you what has reached his desk and the date that he has to take action by.


1) Very important - Tell Gov. Pence to stop protecting the monopolies and VETO SB 412.  The Governor's energy bill guarantees that Utilities will make a profit from electricity they do not sell because of the energy efficiency program.  It allows Utilities to charge you for energy you are not using.

Call Gov. Pence today at 317-232-4567

Or you can e-mail him here:

2) Thank Senators Breaux, Broden and Randolph and Representatives Hale, Pierce and Pryor for their NO vote on SB 412 at the Senate & House Utilities committee hearings. Their emails are shown below.  Click here to find your state representative.

March 18, 2015 Committee Hearing

Passed along party lines 10-3







Koch , Eric


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VanNatter , Heath


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Behning , Robert


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Speedy , Mike


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Hale , Christina


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Forestal , Dan


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Pierce , Matt


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Pryor , Cherrish


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January 22, 2015 Committee Hearing
Roll Call
Jim Merritt
Jim Buck
Mike Delph
Randel Head
Erin Houchin
Jean Leising
James Tomes
Jean Breaux
John Broden
Lonnie Randolph




In 2014, Gov. Pence became the first governor in the country to repeal a successful state-wide energy efficiency program (SB340), and promised to introduce his own EE program in 2015.

SB 340 was authored by Sen. Jim Merritt who claimed that the Energizing Indiana program was not very effective and cost too much. But the truth is Energizing Indiana has been more successful than any prior utility-run programs and costs less than the national average.

In August 2014, a new report conducted by the Energy Center of Wisconsin found that the Energizing Indiana program was saving money and would have continued to generate net benefits for several years. "Core and Core Plus programs are expected to produce overall positive net benefits to Indiana through 2019," according to the report. "These programs returned as much as $3.00 in benefits for each dollar spent from 2012 through 2013. The Core program for commercial and industrial customers provided the most benefits—as much as $5.49 for each dollar spent."

In October 2014, the IURC issued its recommendations for an energy efficiency plan to Governor Pence.

What is really happening here is that Energizing Indiana has been so successful that the utilities wanted to kill it because they're losing money. And it appears Sen. Merritt who carried the bill has a conflict of interest.  "Merritt, who is chairman of the Senate Utility Committee, also is vice president for corporate affairs with the Indiana Rail Road Co. Most of the railroad’s business comes from hauling coal, and its largest clients include utility and coal mining companies." Read more.

Click here to read more about the 2014 session for SB 340 , authored by Sen. Jim Merritt.

Engine 2 Healthy Eating Challenge
Mondays, January 19 - February 16, 2015, 6pm WFM_Logo_Vert_P342_-_web_onlyWhole Foods Market
14598 Clay Terrace Blvd., Carmel, IN 46032
RSVP at 569-1517
Meet in the café.
Includes weekly tastings & videos!
You set a healthy eating goal & we'll help you stick
to it with inspiring information, samples & a
community of support. The 5 weeks include a screening
of Forks Over Knives, a Store Tour, weekly videos and
samples focusing on a variety of topics including
delicious dairy-free & meat-free options, cooking
without oils and more! Attendance at the January 19th
orientation is mandatory.

For each additional 28-Day Healthy Eating Challenge
you attend, you'll be entered to win prizes distributed
at our Graduation!
2015 Fall Conference - How to Green Your Congregation
Grace Church, Saturday, September 26, 2015      hipl_logo_transparent

Conference goals:

  • See how congregations are protecting God’s Creation.
  • Save your congregation money.
  • Network with experienced leaders.

People of faith from many congregations attended!

Thanks to all for coming to Hamilton County's first multi-faith environmental conference. Your energy, enthusiasm and concern for caring for God's creation is inspiring.   It was really wonderful to have so many denominations represented.
  • St. Peter's UCC, Carmel
  • Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, Carmel  Collage_for_website_-_2015_Green_Conference_narrow2
  • King of Glory Lutheran Church, Carmel
  • Northview Church, Carmel
  • Orchard Park Presbyterian Church, Carmel
  • St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church, Carmel
  • Grace Church, Noblesville
  • First Presbyterian, Noblesville
  • City of Noblesville
  • Holy Spirit at Geist Catholic Church, Fishers
  • Geist Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Fishers
  • Al-Huda Foundation, Fishers
  • Eman Schools, Fishers
  • Sufi Muslim, NY
  • Sheridan Wesleyan, Westfield
  • All Souls Unitarian Church, Indianapolis
  • Unitarian Universalist, Indianapolis
  • St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, Indianapolis
  • Calvary United Methodist Church, Indianapolis
  • Cross and Crown Lutheran, Indianapolis
  • First Presbyterian, Jeffersonville

Many faith traditions call on us to care for God's creation.  Pope Francis, who is visiting the U.S. this week, issued an Encyclical on Climate Change calling on people of all faiths to come together to care for our common home - Our Earth.  With this conference we are off to a great start.

We hope you learned some things you can use and share with others at your congregation, and that you were able to network and make connections that will support green efforts at your congregation.

Breakout Sessions:

  • Building a Green Team: Sharon Horvath and Diane Hamstra
    Two different approaches to starting a green team will be discussed, including ideas about how to attract members, build support, initiate activities, and sustain a team once you have it.
  • Living Faith and Creation Care: Trisha Tull and Larry Kleiman
    Environmental issues are often seen as scientific, technological, or political, but at root they involve human meaning and belief: the purposes of human life, our relationships with creator and creation, and our responsibilities to the future. In this workshop we will explore ways that faith calls us to earth care.
  • Rethinking Energy Use and Cost: Ray Wilson and Cindy Whitaker
    Learn why you should be concerned about energy consumption in your congregation and home, and how to get started reducing it.
  • Landscaping Green and Creating Community Gardens: Ginger Bievenour and Sara Sterley
    Learn about the processes of discernment and growth for these two environmentally and socially beneficial land conversions. Project Eden is a nonprofit focused on reconnecting people with creation and restoring broken ecosystems, and features a community garden. St. Peter’s Native Habitat, consisting of rain gardens and prairie, grew out of a desire to make better use of the church property and to increase its environmental responsibility.
  • Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling: Tammy Snyder and Steven Boggs
    Learn why reducing, reusing, and recycling common materials matter economically and ecologically, how to do a waste audit of your facility, and the ins and outs of implementing source reduction and recycling in your congregation.
  • Public Issues and Policy Challenges: Mike Oles and Paula Sutton
    Indiana’s environmental future is currently being discussed in Washington DC, at the statehouse, and in communities across the state. This workshop will highlight why it is important for people of faith to make their voices heard in the public arena.

Thanks to our Partners, Sponsors & Friends!

Many thanks to our partners Hoosier Interfiath Power and Light and Project Eden, to our host Pastor Keith Carlson and Grace Church, to our guest speakers, to everyone who worked so hard to put the conference together, and especially Cindy Whitaker for contributing delicious morning snacks and lunch.

Thanks also to Sara Sterley for tours of the community garden and restoration areas at Grace, and to INPAWS, Hamilton County Soil & Water Conservation District, White River Alliance, HIPL, St. Thomas Aquinas Creation Care Team and CGI for sharing your resources.

Everyone's contributions are greatly appreciated!!!



Click here to see conference flyer.

Click here to see the Aug 18 press release.

Cover story in the Noblesville Current

Click here to see suggested blurb for bulletin, website and facebook.




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