Residential Solar in Kansas
Kansas Solar Industry Still Faces Uncertainty
Kansas’s largest electric company, Evergy (previously KCP&L and Westar) is imposing unfair penalties on residential solar energy.
In Fall 2018, the KCC allowed Evergy (the company formed when KCP&L and Westar merged) to impose a demand charge on solar customers. Solar companies throughout the region joined forces to stand up for fair electric billing for solar customers. The demand charges are unpredictable, variable charges that at times will completely offset the financial benefit of solar. In early 2019, legislation was introduced in an attempt to eliminate the demand charges, but instead, both parties were urged by the Kansas Senate Utilities Committee to reach a temporary agreement, then come together to reach and present a mutually agreed upon, long-term solution by September 1, 2019.
What this means:
Systems installed prior to the deadlines (12/20/18 for KCP&L customers, 10/1/2018 for Westar customers) will NO LONGER be subject to the demand charges.
A top concern about the solar demand charges is that they were enacted retroactively. Some Kansans who installed their systems as long ago as 2015 suddenly saw bill increases of $40-$60/month, with that number likely to triple or quadruple over the summer months.
An agreement will be reached.
With pressure from Kansas legislators, the electric companies agreed to come to the table with solar companies to sit down and identify a fair rate structure to present to the KCC for approval. Solar industry advocate, the Clean Energy Business Council, will lead the solar industry’s push for fair billing.
Uncertainty until the agreement is reached.
Until a new agreement has been made, new solar systems installed in Evergy (Westar or KCP&L) are still subject to the demand charge. Homeowners considering a solar installation cannot know the type of charges to expect from the agreement, nor can anyone predict what the future rate structure is. Some people are still installing on good faith that a fair agreement will be made, or accepting that their installation may not be as lucrative as a system in another state would be.
What you can do:
Sign up for news updates at SaveKansasSolar.com.
Sign up for Kansas Updates through SunSource.