On June 15th, Governor Brian Sandoval signed legislation (AB 405) to reinstate net metering in the state of Nevada. The decision to stop net metering in late 2015 essentially killed the residential solar industry in the Silver State. According to Greentech Media, the change in 2015 also led to the loss of 2,600 jobs.
Still, solar hasn’t been completely dead in Nevada. Expanding solar farms statewide have increased by 71% in the past year. This is promising as they revive the opportunity for the individual to contribute to the state’s renewable energy production.
In 2015 when the law changed, existing residential solar customers in Nevada were not grandfathered in, even though they had purchased solar with that expectation. However, these customers will now be compensated for their excess production. New solar patrons and existing customers alike will reap the benefits.
The new law also provides additional consumer protection, allowing for net-metered customers to lock in rates for 20 years and mandating at least 10-year warranties, among other safeguards.
Some are skeptical. It’s easy to look at subsidies and believe that they benefit companies more than consumers. When offering a PPA, the company monetizes the subsidies and tax credits instead of the consumer, leaving it to benefit the most from this kind of legislation. As a result, solar-leasing companies left Nevada when net metering ended because they found it impossible to be profitable.
However, buying from a company that offers ownership ensures that the consumer reaps the rewards of solar on their home, in particular the 30% Federal Tax Credit and many other subsidies in the form of credits and rebates, depending on location and utility provider.
The long-term benefit of widespread renewable energy in Nevada is a win for everyone. Many solar companies will reenter the state with this legislation, and while the legislation has many safeguards for consumers, the economics and quality of one system vs another vary dramatically depending on the provider. At Blue Raven Solar, we look forward to offering our solar product, financing, and quality craftsmanship to the delight of every Nevadan who hasn’t made the decision to switch to solar energy yet.