Vote Solar and other renewable energy supporters today applauded Governor Sandoval and the New Energy Industry Task Force, chaired by Office of Energy Director Angie Dykema, for recommending a suite of bills that will help spur solar energy development in Nevada.
Nevadans overwhelmingly want more solar energy powering their state, and it's exciting to see Governor Sandoval and his New Energy Industry Task Force taking concrete steps to make that hope a reality. The Task Force recommendations accepted by the Governor will help protect existing solar customers and pave the way for a clean energy future. I'm particularly proud to be serving on the Distributed Generation and Storage technical advisory committee that drafted the grandfathering recommendation. We applaud the Governor for his leadership and look forward to continued work to clear the way for a strong and diverse solar economy in the Silver State.
Annette Magnus, executive director of Battle Born Progress, a nonprofit group working for progressive values in Nevada, added, “Grandfathering existing solar customers was really the right thing to do. Rooftop solar consumers have invested in Nevada’s renewable energy future. Protecting those investments is important. Of course, that does nothing to bring back the solar industry that was virtually dismantled by Public Utilities Commission of Nevada decisions in December and earlier this year, and we hope that the Legislature ultimately will reverse the new charges imposed by the PUC."
Here's an overview of the renewable energy-related bills that the New Energy Industry Task Force recommended that the 2017 Legislature consider:
- Grandfather Net Metering for Existing Solar Customers: In December 2015, the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada voted to reduce the net metering rate and add significant new costs for solar customers, a rule change that adversely impacted both future customers as well as the thousands of Nevadans who had already invested their own dollars in local solar power. The Task Force recommendation accepted by Governor Sandoval would grandfather customers who had installed or applied for a solar energy system before the end of 2015 into the previous net metering tariff for 20 years, providing an important consumer protection for those prior investments.
- Set Limits on the Amount of Electricity Produced from Fossil Fuels: Nevada is highly dependent on polluting fossil fuels including coal and natural gas for about 80 % of its power. The Task Force recommended a bill that would limit the amount of power generated from fossil fuel sources to 50% by 2040 for most Nevada utilities.
- Strengthen Clean Energy Provisions in the Utility Planning Process: Nevada’s utilities undertake integrated resource plans (“IRP”) to ensure that they are able to meet the state’s future water and energy needs. The New Energy Industry Task Force recommended a bill that could help spur clean and renewable energy development through the IRP process by prioritizing important factors such as energy portfolio diversity, reducing fuel-price and carbon-price rise, and maximizing economic and environmental benefits for the state.
- Expand Consumer Financing Options for Clean Energy Improvements: Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs enable local governments to offer low-cost financing options for energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements on private property. The New Energy Industry Task Force recommends that the 2017 Legislature consider a bill to support legislation enabling PACE financing options in the state.