Nevada Solar Advocates Laud Task-Force Recommendations
CARSON CITY, Nev. -- Solar advocates are praising recommendations just released by Gov. Brian Sandoval's New Energy Industry Task Force which propose that customers be allowed to sell excess solar electricity back to the grid at reasonable rates, in exchange for a small baseline fee on their bills.
Advocates said this was a big win for the solar community - particularly in light of a Public Utilities Commission decision in December 2015 which halted net metering - effectively shutting down the small-scale solar industry in Nevada and resulting in thousands of layoffs.
Louise Helton, part owner of 1 Sun Solar in Las Vegas, said that if these recommendations are enacted by the Legislature, the industry could be revived and low- and middle-income families could take advantage of distributed generation.
"This group of recommendations has the potential of really unleashing the power of solar for the vast number of people in our community who haven't had the access to that before,” Helton said.
The task force also outlined a dozen factors to consider when determining the value of solar energy. In contrast, a report completed before the PUCN decision last winter was considered biased by many solar activists because it only took two metrics into account.
Helton said she appreciates the simple, straightforward approach of the proposed plan.
"If there are costs that are passed on, there's not going to be a complicated formula, and it's not to exceed $25." she said. "I think that is very reasonable.”
Recently, NV Energy and the Public Utilities Commission reversed course and decided to help people who had already installed solar before the end of 2015 by grandfathering in the rate structure from their original contracts.