Solar advocates and environmental organizations in Nevada are celebrating the next step to offering community solar in the state thanks to the introduction of Community Solar Bill SB392. If passed, the bill would offer the benefits of community solar to renters, low-income families and people that do not have access to solar options.
The bill, introduced by State Senator Mo Denis (D), would allow customers to subscribe to a community solar project within their utility’s service area and earn credit on their utility bills for excess energy produced. The bill includes specific provisions to collect funds from existing incentive programs into one pool of money. It will require the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUC) to authorize the payment of incentives up to $2 million per year to utilities for the installation of community solar projects that specifically benefit low-income to moderate-income customers.
“Nevada’s elderly residents and communities of color are spending a larger portion of income on energy costs,” said Denis. “Nevada is also home to over 450,000 renters who don’t have the option of reducing electric bills through rooftop solar, and many others whose homes are shaded by trees, blocked by buildings, or otherwise lack a suitable roof for solar installations. All Nevadan families, businesses, and communities deserve access to the financial and health benefits of choosing solar and that’s what we aim to accomplish with this bill.”
"Solar power is not only beneficial to our community’s efforts to minimize environmental pollution, but to low-income families who depend on the alternative source of electricity to significantly reduce utility costs and gain access to this vital resource,” said Rudy Zamora, state program director of Chispa Nevada, a program of the League of Conservation Voters. “Nevadans deserve to have the opportunity to choose our energy source, especially in a state that provides more than 300 days a year of sunshine. We hope that our legislators take action to provide us the great opportunity to use community solar in Nevada for our well-being and our future generations.”
Utilitliies in Nevada are developing community solar proposals ahead of the introduction of SB392. A week prior to introducing the bill, Nevada Power Company submitted a letter of advice to the PUC requesting regulators approve a program that would create a voluntary community solar project subscription service. The proposal asked the PUC to offer a maximum of 12,000 residential customers access its service territory access 7.3 megawatts of community solar projects. The program, which it called a solar-pricing rider, would allow residential customers to subscribe to blocks of renewable energy to supplant their energy needs. The program grew from the utility’s contract with Apple Computers in Boulder City, NV to power its data centers.Tweet