It’s been almost two years since the Public Utilities Commission in Nevada voted at the end of 2015 to remove net metering on rooftop solar power. Since then it’s been a series of battles for lawmakers and solar advocates alike to restore incentives for solar users, the lack of which took over 2,500 jobs.
It’s been said that the local utilities wanted to ensure their monopoly but utilities say they are just worried about being able to keep up with the cost to maintain the grid. They say solar leads to a cost shift differential, a tab that non-solar customers are stuck with. Some saying it only adds more incentive for non-solar users to make the switch.
Governor Sandoval makes it known he wants Nevada not only to become solar friendly once more but to excel going forward becoming a standard or leader in energy policy to which other states can aspire.
So, what does this new restoration bill hold for the future anyways? Solar users can sell their unused energy back to utilities, like NV Energy, at retail instead of wholesale. A point utilities aren’t so keen. It’s been compromised that the first 80 megawatts bought back will be at a rate of 95% of the going rate. After that it’ll decrease to a 75% buy back rate.
Another compromise established in the bill is that solar customers will get a 20 year guaranteed buy back rate when they sign up. It’s thought that as more people install rooftop solar panels the buy back percentage for those guaranteed years will gradually decrease over the years. What does this mean for you? It seems to mean the sooner you sign up for rooftop solar the better you’ll come out in the long run.
Incentives are back and hoping to stay. But, in a state that had overwhelmingly high votes for the program deregulation, will it be enough to convince potential solar customers to trust they are making the right financial choice? It’s a battle for balance between the economic structure we are use to and the cleaner lifestyle we strive for.