After more than three months of discussion, hearings and input from stakeholders, the Nevada Assembly’s Committee on Commerce and Labor moved a bill to restore the rooftop solar energy industry while protecting the rights of consumers. The measure, Assembly Bill 405, is now headed to the full Assembly for a floor vote as soon as next week.
“This legislation is the product of a lot of debate and compromise, but we are optimistic that it will restore the rooftop-solar industry in Nevada, put solar installers back to work, and, most importantly, allow access to affordable, clean solar energy for Nevada’s homeowners and small businesses,” said Louise Helton, owner of 1 Sun Solar, a Las Vegas-based installation company. The rooftop-solar installation industry largely disappeared from Nevada after rate adjustments by Nevada regulators that dramatically cut the credits rooftop solar owners received for putting energy onto the electrical grid, while increasing charges those owners paid for connecting to the grid.
Jessica Scott, Interior West director of Vote Solar, a national group advocating for clean solar energy, said legislators have the opportunity to respond to Nevada voters who overwhelmingly support rooftop solar. “Nevadans are demanding a legislative solution that restores a vibrant, stable rooftop solar market that works for the entire industry,” Scott said. “AB405 is a step toward that goal and Vote Solar looks forward to working with bill sponsors and industry to answer Nevadans call for action.”
Andy Maggi, director of the Nevada Conservation League, echoed other advocates for clean solar energy.“Since December of 2015 our work has focused on two priorities; restore the rooftop solar industry to Nevada and significantly expand the adoption and use of clean energy in Nevada,” Maggi said. “AB 405 delivers on the first and we thank Nevada’s legislators who have been working on this with us and our partners since day one of this legislative session. We look forward to continuing our work this session and expect legislators to lead the state to a brighter energy future by passing a stronger renewable energy standard.”
Additionally on Friday, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Labor and Energy unanimously passed Assembly Bill 223, which would provide for new and extended energy-efficiency measures for small businesses, seniors and others on fixed incomes, and low-income homeowners and renters. Some consumers could reduce their power bills by half, while the equity of energy efficiency programs will grow by specifically reaching out to low-income residents who may not have been able to access older energy-efficiency programs. “The unanimous support of the Nevada Senate Commerce and the Labor and Energy Committee on this essential energy efficiency bill demonstrates the strong commitment of our legislators to working families throughout Nevada,” said Rudy Zamora, director of Chispa Nevada, a program of the League of Conservation Voters. “This will save money for consumers across the state, including low-income and families of color, while promoting clean energy job development and growth.”