My Dad On The Roof

The future of Indiana energy policy is being decided at the Statehouse now, and it needs your voice imminently. The Indiana 21st Century Energy Policy Development Task Force will recommend to the General Assembly and the Governor how the state will (or will not) prioritize and integrate renewable energy resources into the existing electrical utility scheme.


Below is a letter (PDF version) I wrote to the Co-Chairs of the Task Force encouraging them "to soften Indiana’s opposition to energy independence. Allow citizens to find innovative ways to better our energy security and to build grid resiliency by embracing community solar (http://iga.in.gov/documents/20a4c5b6)."


Community solar is the notion that several people or parties can combine resources to benefit collectively from solar energy. That solar array is usually near the end users so that the overall electric grid becomes more resilient. Current Indiana policy prohibits such common sense practices, as the utilities have successfully lobbied to discourage energy independence.


I encourage you to write a letter soon, as the Task Force will be writing its initial draft recommendations in the coming weeks. Share the vision you see for a future that embraces rather than spurns sustainable energy. For ideas on how to express such interests, see Solar United Neighbors-Indiana or contact me.

Men and solar on roof
Fred Bueter, left, installing solar devices with Tom O'Flynn, 1981.

September 22, 2022

The Honorable Ed Soliday, Co-Chair The Honorable Eric A. Koch, Co-Chair 21st Century Energy Policy Development Task Force 200 W. Washington St. Indianapolis, IN 46204 Dear Representative Soliday and Senator Koch, As a resident of Indiana Senate District 11 and House District 8, I write to urge you and your fellow members of the 21st Century Energy Policy Development Task Force to recommend that the Indiana General Assembly enact fair solar policies, like a real community solar program that would benefit all Hoosiers. My father Fred was a plumber who started and grew his own business, paid union wages, and worked hard for the betterment of the family’s future. He always said he wanted to be part of the solution, not the problem. In 1981, seeing the future would be better served by diverse energy supplies, my dad embraced new ideas. He personally plumbed two solar devices on his rooftop to test renewable energy and to lead by example. Though the technology was embryonic, solar solutions were as needed then on a wide scale as they are today. In my father’s time, the economics of solar energy hindered its widespread adoption; in my time, the Indiana Statehouse hinders people from doing the right thing. Recently, I and a team (http://projectilios.com) of South Bend-area high school students have been preparing for their future by flying drones to image rooftops for the design and advancement of rooftop solar installations. Unfortunately, current Indiana energy policy will likely render their new skillset more useful outside of the Hoosier State. I write to encourage you, as Co-Chairs of the Indiana 21st Century Energy Policy Development Task Force, to soften Indiana’s opposition to energy independence. Allow citizens to find innovative ways to better our energy security and to build grid resiliency by embracing community solar (http://iga.in.gov/documents/20a4c5b6). Many people who are unable to invest in rooftop solar systems want somehow to be proactive in a clean energy future. Examples include renters, people with houses in shaded areas, low income populations, people with HOA restrictions, community schools, and newcomers to renewable energy. Financially, people who now can only invest part-time, in shorter time frames, or with less capital are left on the sidelines when they desperately want to be a part of Indiana’s betterment. Or as my dad would say, to be part of the solution. The upsides to community solar are many and indisputable, yet the utilities continue to lobby to be the only ones who can monetize the sun or control energy independence. Let Hoosiers benefit through a fair and transparent market structure to compete with the monopoly before the Indiana energy system is as fossilized as the carbon-based sources that are causing the woe. We should be making the grid responsive to demand and distributed energy resources, with investments from individuals and companies, rather than meeting increased demand only with utility projects paid for by more rate hikes. Please, consider the vision of a plumber working on a rooftop to lead our nation toward a sustainable future. Allow Hoosiers to do the right thing. Advocate for community solar. Sincerely, Chuck Bueter Cc: Sen. Scott Baldwin Sen. Stacey Donato Sen. Jean Leising Sen. David Niezgodski Sen. Linda Rogers Sen. Shelli Yoder Rep. Ryan Dvorak Rep. Ryan Hatfield Rep. Chris Jeter Rep. Ethan Manning Rep. Sharon Negele Rep. Matt Pierce William Fine Dan Huge Kay Pashos Peter Schubert Donna Walker Attachment: Fred Bueter, left, installing solar devices in 1981.

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