Where does NV Energy stand on residential rooftop solar?
In December 2015, the PUC raised fees for customers with solar panels on their homes, sparking controversy over the costs and benefits of rooftop solar. The PUC decision had an immediate negative impact on the residential rooftop solar industry in Nevada, causing solar installers to lay off Nevada workers. NV Energy agreed that customers who had already invested in rooftop solar panels on their homes should keep the old, beneficial rates, and the PUC has “grandfathered” prior customers in at the older rates. Then, in January 2017, the PUC agreed to reinstate the old rates for about 1,500 new potential rooftop customers in Northern Nevada, breathing some life into the rooftop solar industry. NVEnergy is protesting that PUC decision and a judgment is expected early this year.
How can we make sure the PUC works for Nevadans and our economy?
The PUC’s decision in December 2015 to quadruple charges for residential, rooftop solar producers, while slashing payment for power produced by more than 75 percent, virtually destroyed a growing solar installation industry. This sparked a debate about whether the state should consider reforms to the PUC to ensure it considers the long-term advantages of renewable energy, including economic benefits for Nevadans.
The current PUC model prioritizes short-term cost considerations, while discounting the long-term savings that could be gained from investing in clean energy. Renewables provide low-cost and reliable energy with no fuel costs, support job creation, and clean up the air we breathe. Fossil fuel plants, on the other hand, will come with price shocks when gas prices rise – driving up electricity rates with them. We know switching to clean energy can be profitable for utilities and good for consumers.
While some utilities are aiming to provide 100 percent renewable energy to their customers, Nevada must do more to make sure in-state utilities are doing all they can to provide consumers with job-creating clean energy choices. Policymakers must prioritize clean, renewable energy, and that could mean reforming the PUC to ensure it works for our economy and for consumers.