Democratic state senators in Nevada have introduced S.B.392, a bill that aims to expand solar energy access to more Nevada residents, particularly renters and low-income families, by establishing a statewide community solar program.
“Nevada’s elderly residents and communities of color are spending a larger portion of income on energy costs,” says State Sen. Mo Denis, the bill’s primary sponsor. “Nevada is also home to over 450,000 renters who don’t have the option of reducing electric bills through rooftop solar, and many others whose homes are shaded by trees, blocked by buildings, or otherwise lack a suitable roof for solar installations. All Nevadan families, businesses, and communities deserve access to the financial and health benefits of choosing solar, and that’s what we aim to accomplish with this bill.”
Clean energy and civil rights groups have joined in supporting the community solar legislation, which includes specific provisions to ensure that low-income families are able to participate in and benefit from the statewide program.
“Every Nevadan should be able to choose solar to power their energy needs, whether it’s on their roof or around the corner,” says Jessica Scott, interior West director for advocacy group Vote Solar. “Community solar will unlock consumer savings and promote a healthier environment in the communities they serve – benefits that are particularly essential for low-income families. Thanks to Senator Mo Dennis’ leadership, that opportunity is now within reach for all Nevadans.”
“Energy Justice is a priority for NAACP, and community solar is an important first step to ensuring equitable access to clean energy,” says Jeanetta Williams, president of the NAACP Tri-State Conference of ID/NV/UT. “When people think about the NAACP, they don’t often think about the phrase ‘energy justice.’ Since 1909, the NAACP has advocated for a vast array of civil rights issues, and in 2014 with the release of our Just Energy Report, that includes advocating for environmental justice.”
Rudy Zamora, state program director of Chispa Nevada, a program of the League of Conservation Voters, adds, “Nevadans deserve to have the opportunity to choose our energy source, especially in a state that provides more than 300 days a year of sunshine. We hope that our legislators take action to provide us the great opportunity to use community solar in Nevada for our well-being and our future generations.”
According to the Nevada legislature’s website, the other bill sponsors include Sens. Pat Spearman and Joyce Woodhouse.