Solar Customers At Odds with Power Company

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SEDALIA - Solar advocates criticized Kansas City Power and Light's request to stop its rebate program for solar energy.

One non-profit organization devoted to alternative energy said, without the rebates, there could be problems.

"Solar energy has the potential to dry up" in Missouri, said Renew Missouri Director PJ Wilson.

KCP&L asked the Missouri Public Service Commission to stop the rebates for solar energy September 3.

Schilby's Auto Service in Sedalia has run off solar energy since 2012.

"We thought it was a good investment for our money," said owner Paula Dillner.
When she first started working on the project, she said, she thought the rebates were to good to be true.

The initial cost for the installation of the solar panels would have been $144,000, but was reduced by the rebates to $14,000.

Dillner said, without these rebates, she would not have made the switch to solar energy. She said she acted quickly because she was aware the rebates could change.

"The reason that I didn't install it right away was because I was hesitant about the rebates," Dillner said.

The vice president of Missouri Solar Application, an installation firm, said he felt the rebates have not only been beneficial to customers of KCP&L, but communities as a whole.

"It has boosted the economy," Mike Odneal said. "We've had a lot of new companies and new jobs in the solar industry because of these incentives."

Another positive of the rebates is that they are making people more conscious about renewable energy, he said.

KCP&L said it is out of money to fund the solar rebate program. KOMU 8 News tried to contact the company's solar team but it did not respond.

Renew Missouri's Wilson said KCP&L could find ways to keep the rebates going.

Odneal said one alternative would be using a rebate system similar to that used by the coal energy, which spreads rebates over several years.

The Missouri Public Service Commission was set to make a ruling on the KCP&L motion to end solar rebates July 30.