Walker bill on solar panel and wind power equipment disposal being held in committee for changes

INDIANAPOLIS — A bill co-authored by Sen. Greg Walker, R-Columbus, that would direct state regulators to study waste disposal from solar panels and wind power equipment may be getting tweaked before it reaches the House floor.

As currently written, the bill, SB 33, would direct Indiana Department of Environmental Management and the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to conduct a joint study on the decommissioning and disposal of solar panels and wind power equipment and report findings by Nov. 1.

The joint study would consider, among other things, the creation of a state program to manage the decommissioning and disposal of solar panels and a financial mechanism to fund the effort.

The bill cleared the Senate in a 50-0 vote on Jan. 24, state records show.

However, the House Committee on Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications on Tuesday opted to hold the bill for a week to look at potential amendments that would adjust the responsible parties for the study and consider adding electric vehicle battery disposal to the study’s scope.

In particular, committee chair Rep. Edmond Soliday, R-Valparaiso, said questions had been raised about the role of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission in the study and the extent to which it should participate.

Walker told The Republic that his intention was not for IURC to have a prominent role in the study, but rather to “provide technical assistance in regard to the solar equipment itself.”

Walker said he is “amenable” to holding the bill for another week and supportive of the potential amendments.

“The bill is going to be held, and Rep. Soliday and I are going to work on good amendment language to keep that bill moving through the committee,” Walker said. “It is his intention to bring it forward from the committee onto the floor of the House. He thinks it is a good effort.”

For more on this story, see Wednesday’s Republic.