Why does Rider E include an additional charge for rooftop solar customers?

As a public power utility, the City of Bowling Green operates a not-for-profit electric utility. Most of the Utilities Department's expenses are fixed costs, meaning the expenses don't change much based on a customer's usage. The City's electric rates are based on a Cost of Service Study that examines all of the expenses to provide the electrical needs of our community. The expenses include, but are not limited to, power supply contracts, transmission and capacity obligations, the cost of infrastructure such as electric poles, lines, and transformers, and finally, the cost to ensure our staff and equipment are available and equipped to respond to electrical issues anywhere in the city at a moment's notice, 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The rates that are charged to customers are designed for full-service requirement customers (a customer that purchases all of their energy needs from the City). In this way, the City ensures that our expenses are equitably collected from each customer based on their use of the electric system. The Cost of Service Study is the best way to ensure that the customer charges are fair and equitable.

When a customer installs rooftop solar, they become a partial-service requirement customer. This means that the customer does not purchase all of their energy needs from the City because they are offsetting some or all of their energy needs with their own generating system. The customer relies on the City to provide all of their electric service at any given time but they do not pay the same costs as a full-service requirement customer. The customer also depends upon the City's electric distribution system in order to receive a credit for their excess generation.

The Monthly Facilities Charge is necessary to recover the unavoidable fixed expenses mentioned above that are incurred by the City. Again, these costs include system maintenance, transformers, debt service, capital improvements, power supply, transmission, capacity, buildings, equipment, and labor. Without this additional charge, non-generating customers subsidize the electric service for generating customers. Details about the Facilities Charge can be found in Rider E


A residential customer installs a 5 kilowatt (kW) customer-owned renewable resource generator in the form of rooftop solar panels. After July 1, 2021, this resident will be charged a Local Facilities Charge of $5 per month ($1 per kW × 5kW). This charge will increase over the next four years, making it easier for current rooftop solar customers to adjust. At full implementation (in year 2024), the rate will be $4 per kW AC and the customer would pay $20 per month for the charge.

  • 2021: Example Resident pays $5 per month
  • 2022: Example Resident will pay $10 per month
  • 2023: Example Resident will pay $15 per month
  • 2024: Example Resident will pay $20 per month

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1. What renewable energy resources does the City provide to my home?
2. Does the City offer options to increase the use of renewable energy for my house?
3. Are Bowling Green electric customers permitted to install rooftop solar?
4. What is the approval process to install rooftop solar?
5. Can I sell excess power generated from my rooftop solar panels back to the City?
6. Will I be able to rely on the City’s electric distribution service if my rooftop solar system is not generating enough power for my needs?
7. If I install rooftop solar, will my electric rate change?
8. Why does Rider E include an additional charge for rooftop solar customers?
9. Can I install a battery with my rooftop solar system?