The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the industry's national trade group, has sent a letter urging a Nevada Assembly committee to pass a pro-consumer net metering bill (AB 270). That measure would return the state to its previous net metering policy, which allowed all homeowners to sell excess electricity back to the utility and solar jobs to flourish.
The letter went to the Assembly’s Committee on Commerce and Labor.
SEIA says if the state enacts the bill, Nevada can return to being a national leader in distributed generation and rooftop solar and take advantage of solar jobs that are booming across the country. Strong net metering policies benefit all consumers, allow solar adopters to be fairly compensated for the benefits they provide to the grid and help utilities ensure smoother electricity delivery and avoid infrastructure costs.
In supporting the bill, SEIA pointed to the setbacks in the state after the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) eliminated net metering in 2015. The state has lost almost 3,000 solar jobs because of the decision, which was partially reversed last year by PUCN when it grandfathered in net metering for existing customers.
“Prior to 2016, Nevada had been a national leader in distributed generation, [and] more specifically rooftop solar,” SEIA said in the letter. “However, in late 2015 with the dissolution of net metering, we have seen a tremendous implosion of what was a vibrant, growing industry. The PUCN itself stated that ‘the (NEM) Final Modified Order all but crushed the rooftop solar industry in Northern Nevada, reducing the booming industry from 983 applications by residential homeowners and small commercial businesses in Sierra Pacific Power Service territory in 2015 to 41 applications in 2016.’”
The letter also pointed out that “multiple national solar companies essentially stopped doing business in Nevada, or put plans on hold to expand to Nevada, and we are seeing long-term local Nevada solar companies close shop or change business plans to install technologies other than solar.”