Letters: Assess solar cost, benefits | Opinion

Gov. Eric Holcomb made innovation one of the central themes of his State of the State. Holcomb has made fostering entrepreneurship a central priority of his new administration. Those priorities — innovation and entrepreneurship — are presumably ones embraced by his state Senate counterparts. But those priorities are not reflected in the amended version of SB 309.

This bill, without any disclosed, objective, Indiana-specific study to justify this enormous change in policy, worsens the investment landscape for rooftop solar by forcing an arbitrary reduction in the value that our electricity grid assigns to solar energy and enabling the possibility of utilities imposing a new fixed fee on customer-owned solar generation; these concerns remain even with the recent amendment in committee.

SB 309, if adopted into law, may well have long-term impacts in terms of deterring investment in solar energy by both homegrown entrepreneurs and those who may otherwise see Indiana as a promising investment destination for solar. The most constructive way forward is for the Senate to call on the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to do a study that transparently assesses the benefits and costs of solar and offers recommendations on changes needed to Indiana’s solar energy-related policies.

Executive director, Hoosier Environmental Council

Rule

England had a fiduciary rule and it took the rule off the books because investment firms could no longer afford to service or take small investor accounts, primarily due to the additional record keeping required under the law.

Years back to place an order for a stock or mutual fund, only a simple one-page application was required. But, with the Bernie Madoffs of this world and Securities and Exchange Commission and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority rules, some applications require 30 or 40 pages of support materials adding time and expense to the practice.

The serving of the small investor appears to be the concern of some legislators here in the states, as well as the resistance of some brokerage firms. Many firms have spent large sums of money and time to be compliant with the projected new fiduciary rules. If investors are concerned as is the case with Elizabeth Zapf (Letters, Feb. 17), they can seek assistance from the community of registered investment advisers and certified financial planners who have taken the oath of fiduciary care. The fiduciary standard requires that the agent put the clients’ best interest ahead of their own.

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