The drama in Nevada continues, as another solar installer has announced local job cuts and a coalition has issued a call for the governor to unseat officials on the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN).
Las Vegas-based Radiant Solar Solutions of NV says it was forced to lay off 15 workers, 90% of its Nevada workforce, and is considering relocating others to states with more stable solar policies. According to the rooftop solar installer, the decision comes after the PUCN’s Dec. 22 ruling to reduce net-metering buyback rates and add higher fees for solar customers in Nevada.
Radiant Solar Solutions of NV, a division of Pueblo Electrical Services Inc., calls the regulators’ ruling a “solar-killing” decision.
“We were proud to call Nevada our home and bring solar savings to homeowners across the state,” states Jack McClary, spokesperson for Radiant Solar Solutions of NV. “All that came to an end when Governor [Brian] Sandoval’s-appointed commissioners, David Noble, Alaina Burtenshaw and Chairman Paul Thomsen, supported NV Energy over the good of Nevadans and thousands of solar jobs.”
McClary adds, “This decision by the PUC halted our ability to proceed with many customers who were in the process of going solar and adversely impacted the lives and finances of great workers who were laid off.”
Separately, a coalition including Conservatives for Energy Freedom, a newly formed Nevada Solar Owners Association, The Libertarian Party of Nevada, and The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) has launched a new petition calling on Sandoval to remove all three commissioners from the PUCN.
The petition demands that Sandoval take action, stating, “By law, the commission was required to ‘encourage private investment in renewable energy resources; stimulate the economic growth of this state; enhance the continued diversification of the energy resources used in this state’ through net metering.
“Commissioners David Noble, Paul Thomsen and Alaina Burtenshaw have failed to do this, and it is your right and duty in serving the people of Nevada to remove these three commissioners from office immediately,” the petition says.
The decision was retroactive, which the coalition says penalizes 17,000 Nevadans who were encouraged to go solar by Sandoval, the legislature and utility NV Energy.
“There is no doubt in my mind that the commission ruling is NV Energy’s attempt to kill competition and keep Nevada consumers shackled to government-created monopolies,” comments Debbie Dooley, founding member of the Tea Party and Conservatives for Energy Freedom, and a backer of the petition. “I strongly urge Governor Sandoval to replace all three commissioners with people who will stand up to monopolies and reverse the devastating anti-solar ruling.”
After SolarCity announced its Nevada job cuts in early January, Sandoval responded to CEO Lyndon Rive’s call for the governor to “do the right thing.”
“If such a statement suggests that I somehow influence the PUC’s decision, Mr. Rive knows – or should know – that such conduct is inappropriate,” said Sandoval, later touting his past legislative support for rooftop solar.
Other petition supporters include Go Solar, REPOWER by Solar Universe, Radiant Solar Scott Lafata for Nevada and Sunrun.
The petition is available here.