A New Sign Of Hope For Nevada’s Existing Solar Customers?

Posted by Joseph Bebon on May 19, 2016 2 Comments
Categories : Featured, Policy Watch

On Wednesday, the Technical Advisory Committee on Distributed Generation, part of Nevada’s New Energy Industry Task Force, approved a motion recommending that existing rooftop solar customers in the state be able to again receive more generous rates under previous net energy metering (NEM) rules.

In December 2015, a ruling from the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) slashed NEM rates and created higher fees related to rooftop solar, causing some solar companies to shutter their Nevada operations. Although there have been several efforts since to completely overturn the commission’s decision, many stakeholders have also long demanded that existing solar customers at least be grandfathered in under the earlier rules. Customers’ main argument has been that the prior rates were a major factor in their decision to install solar.

In February, the PUCN denied a grandfathering proposal, but shortly after, Gov. Brian Sandoval, R-Nev., reconvened the state New Energy Industry Task Force and ordered it to look into the NEM issue and other energy-related matters.

The technical committee’s newly passed motion recommends grandfathering in solar customers who submitted applications by the end of 2015 for a period of 25 years. The motion is now expected to go to the full New Energy Industry Task Force next Thursday, and if the recommendation clears the task force, the proposal could become a bill in the upcoming legislative session.

Bring Back Solar, a group dedicated to reversing the PUCN’s NEM changes, has welcomed the committee vote.

“The governor’s committee includes stakeholders from the community, the utility and the rooftop solar industry, and this vote signals the broad support for grandfathering existing rooftop solar customers,” says Chandler Sherman, a spokesperson for Bring Back Solar, in a prepared statement.

“We encourage the New Energy Industry Task Force to accept the committee’s recommendation next week, and we are hopeful for the leadership of Governor Sandoval and the legislature to propose and pass legislation to make [Wednesday’s] recommendation of the committee the law of the state.”

Comments

  1. Finally some sensibility. Early adopters should not be penalized for taking the risk of being the first generation of people to switch to solar. Now hopefully the task force has the sense of creating a reasonable phase out over time of the net metering laws to create a level of urgency as an incentive to continue to invest in solar. The transformation from a fossil fuel based economy to clean energy has begun. Europe is way ahead. Countries like Portugal and Germany have already demonstrated that their electrical demands can be provided at times at 100% by renewable sources. The world is changing and we must continue on this journey.

  2. I applaud Nevada’s roof-top solar users to encourage continued early net-metering plans and laws. I will go one step further to encourage these users to consolidate their voice to have me send an enhancing contractor to enhance their panel’s wattage output by a significant factor. This contractor will measure the roof-top panel’s wattage output, under controlled conditions, treat the panels with ELF radiation, measure the new output, determine the customer’s monthly savings, then offer to split those savings until the contractor’s cost is repaid.

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