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Solar Advocates Optimistic after Energy Task Force Meeting

The governor's New Energy Industry Task Force heard from solar advocates on Tuesday. (cleanenergy.org)
The governor's New Energy Industry Task Force heard from solar advocates on Tuesday. (cleanenergy.org)
March 23, 2016

LAS VEGAS - Solar advocates are giving the governor's New Energy Industry Task Force generally positive reviews after it met Tuesday for the first time in years.

About 80 people attended the meeting, which was held simultaneously in Carson City and by teleconference in Las Vegas.

Many speakers condemned the Nevada Public Utilities Commission's decision to change the rules on net metering late last year, which resulted in massive layoffs in the rooftop solar industry.

Elspeth DiMarzio, organizing representative for Beyond Coal for the Sierra Club, hopes the task force will advise the governor to put forth legislation in the 2017 session to revive rooftop solar.

"It's harming rooftop solar customers in Nevada and ultimately will be harming our environment," says DiMarzio. "So we would like to see this task force come up with recommendations on ways Nevada can move forward."

The task force is set to give its recommendations to Gov. Brian Sandoval by June 1, and to release a final report this fall.

Some rooftop solar companies complained they have no representation on the task force, which does have one member from a utility-scale solar company.

Director of commercial development Scott Shaw, whose small company, Go Solar, has seen a big drop-off in business, supports the Bring Back Solar measure on the November ballot.

"The referendum is to put net metering in the public's hands," says Shaw. "Basically bringing it back to a one for one credit, one kilowatt hour for one kilowatt hour, as it was up until Dec. 31 of last year."

Supporters of the ballot measure say they surpassed 100,000 signatures earlier this week.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - NV