The Nevada state government has decided to adjust its net metering policy for solar power, yet the move trigger off many solar companies’ business withdrawal from the state. Since Nevada enjoys high solar radiation density all year long, some solar firms launched proposal or referendum so that they can negotiate with the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) for future opportunities.
On one hand, NV Energy has launched a proposal of net metering grandfathering method that propose to allow existing net energy metering customers to remain on old rules over a transition period as long as 20 years. On the other hand, a newly formed alliance has filed a referendum petition for the 216 statewide ballot seeking to repeal the implement of the new Nevada solar net metering decision.
The following are NV Energy’s and the new alliance’s announcements:
NV Energy’s Grandfathering proposal
"This grandfathering proposal is being offered in recognition of NV Energy's desire to treat all customers, including those who had previously made a decision to install rooftop solar, fairly," said Paul Caudill, NV Energy president and chief executive officer.
The company did not take a position on grandfathering in its original filing made July 31, 2015. On February 1, it will submit its new proposal to the PUCN recommending that rooftop solar customers who installed systems prior to the PUCN's orders be allowed to remain on the old net energy metering rules over a transition period as long as 20 years. The proposal will also recommend that customers who submitted valid applications prior to the PUCN's order be provided the same opportunity.
"We recognize the difficult job that the PUCN, PUCN staff, policy makers, and for that matter, all parties in this proceeding have had in trying to reach decisions on this complex issue," said Paul Caudill, NV Energy president and chief executive officer. "We also understand the history of net metering in Nevada and that a fair, stable and predictable cost environment is important to all of our customers. Our proposal seeks a balance for those who selected solar prior to the implementation of the new rules ordered by the PUCN and those without solar."
"Going back to the 2015 legislative session, key stakeholders and industry participants agreed that rules for net metering needed to change," said Shawn Elicegui, NV Energy senior vice president of regulatory and strategic planning. "The December 23, 2015 Commission order was the result of a fully litigated, public proceeding made on the basis of a sound evidentiary record. The record includes two hearings, the testimony of 28 witnesses, more than 100 exhibits, and hours of transcribed testimony. NV Energy's rate proposal was not accepted by the PUCN, but recognizing the open public regulatory process, we will fully comply with the balance of the order. We feel strongly, however, that the grandfathering proposal we plan to make fairly balances the interests of all of NV Energy's customers and stakeholders."
The referendum launched by solar alliance
"This referendum is about jobs, consumer choice and Nevada's future. This alliance represents the people of Nevada, who overwhelmingly support bringing our rooftop solar back to the state," said former Governor Bob List, a supporter of the referendum. "The Public Utilities Commission's rules have been taxing on the rooftop solar industry and have already cost the state nearly 1,000 jobs in less than a month, with more job losses likely on the way. The rules fail the public the commission purports to represent, and are simply not reasonable, balanced policy."
The alliance has also formed a new political action committee supported by Nevada businesses, not-for-profits, and outraged homeowners, working together to fight the Public Utilities Commission's decision to add punitive new charges to rooftop solar customers.
The referendum, filed with the Nevada Secretary of State today, seeks to repeal newly-enacted portions of Statutes of Nevada Chapter 379 and return to the rules in effect in 2015 and before—the rules that rooftop solar owners relied on when they made the decision to go solar. Before January 1, 2016, the Nevada Public Utilities Commission treated net metering customers the same as standard residential customers, and credited them at retail rates for the excess electricity they produced.
Under the previous rules, the rooftop solar industry and Nevadans interested in a clean energy future brought nearly 6,000 well-paying jobs to the Silver State, making Nevada a leader in energy innovation and job creation. Thousands of Nevadans installed solar to take control of their energy bills and choose a cleaner, more affordable energy future.
The PUC's new, punitive rules will reverse this progress, discourage new businesses from investing in Nevada, and harm the thousands of rooftop solar owners who placed their trust in Nevada as a state committed to promoting clean energy and reducing dependence on dirty fossil fuels.
If the referendum is successful, the new net metering rules will be repealed and all Nevada consumers can continue to benefit from clean energy at reasonable rates.
The No Solar Tax PAC is supported by Nevada citizens, homeowners, businesses, and not-for-profits, working together to bring back Nevada solar, clean energy jobs, and energy choice.