Recently Nevada's state legislature passed the state's Solar Bill of Rights (AB 405) with nearly unanimous support that would reinstate retail rate net-metering, bringing back the rooftop solar industry to the sun-drenched state. The solar industry praised that action as well as the passage of two other bills that would strengthen and expand the solar industry in the state. The positive actions were enough for Sunrun to announce that it would re-enter the market.
Sunrun and SolarCity previously exited the market when the state ended net-metering basically overnight, for all customers, new and old in late 2015. The move forced more than 2,600 layoffs across the state, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), as many potential customers shied away from solar without the ability to net meter the excess energy their system produced and get credited for putting it back on the grid. However, the provisions in the Solar Bill of Rights would restore net-metering for customers in the state.
"The near unanimous bipartisan support for legislation to reinstate net metering and establish a bill of rights for solar customers is a reflection of overwhelming public demand for affordable, clean energy options," said Lynn Jurich, CEO and co-founder of Sunrun. "Thanks to the hard work of Governor Sandoval and Nevada state legislators, we can now say with confidence that Sunrun is coming back to Nevada."
The Solar Bill of Rights will start by offering full net-metering for consumers installing solar. However as more rooftop solar is installed, it will step down the net metering credit rates for homeowners. The bill also ensures utilities can’t add unexpected fees and protect consumers requires transparent sales practices from solar installers.
“Nevada is one step closer to a policy that will allow it to get back thousands of solar jobs that were lost. This bill is a compromise that doesn’t fully value the benefits of distributed solar,” observed Sean Gallagher, SEIA’s vice president of state affairs. “It will, however, allow Nevada consumers and small businesses who may have wanted to go solar, but found it uneconomic under the existing solar policies, to now proceed.”
“We applaud Assemblymen Watkins, Brooks, Yeager, and Fugo and Senators Ford, Atkinson, Manendo, and Spearman for their leadership, and we urge Governor Sandoval to sign this bill into law and restore Nevada to its rightful spot as a top solar state,” Gallagher stated.
The other soar-friendly bills that the Nevada legislature passed were (SB 392), which would establish a statewide community solar program, and (AB 206), which would raise the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) to 40 percent. Under that bill, power companies would have to source at least 40 percent of their electricity from renewables by 2030.
“Community solar programs make the many benefits of solar available to those who may not have had the option before. SB 392 would give everyone from renters to low-income families, to small businesses and others the ability to more easily access and afford solar energy,” Gallagher contended. He lauded the legislature for “raising the bar,” and urged Governor Sandoval the new bills as well.Tweet