Lawsuit says Alabama blocking solar power with unfair fees

Alabama News

FILE – In this Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012 file photo, sunlight reflects off solar panels on the roof of the older part of the Alabama Power building in Birmingham, Ala. Environmental groups and homeowners are challenging a fee charged by Alabama Power on customers who use solar panels to generate part of their electricity. The Alabama Public Service Commission will hold a Nov. 21 hearing on the issue. (Bernard Troncale/The Birmingham News via AP)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Environmental groups and homeowners filed a federal lawsuit against state regulators for approving Alabama Power’s fees on customers with rooftop or on-site solar.

The Southern Environmental Law Center and Ragsdale LLC filed the lawsuit Monday against the Alabama Public Service Commission on behalf of GASP and four Alabama Power customers who installed solar panels on their properties. Homeowners and an environmental groups argue that the fees purposely discourage the use of solar in the sun-rich state.

Alabama Power has maintained the fee is needed to maintain the infrastructure that will provide backup power to customers when the solar panels don’t provide enough energy.

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