Lawmakers tackle renewable energy bills in Carson City

LAS VEGAS - As the 2017 legislative session enters its final days, lawmakers have made it a goal to take action on about a dozen bills relating to renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Advocates say it's a step forward in re-energizing the state's rooftop solar industry.  The Nevada Public Utilities Commission spent much of 2015 working on a complicated new set of net metering regulations that the rooftop solar companies said would kill the industry.  The talk of new rules drew very vocal and large crowds to several PUC meetings leading up to the eventual adoption of the new regulations.

But as a new rate structure and cap on net metering was set to go into place at the start of last year, there was a major shift in policy.  NV Energy worked with the PUC to grandfather in the 20,000 existing customers into the old, more favorable reimbursement rate structure.

So far, this year, lawmakers have worked to codify those changes into law by passing three bills relating to energy efficiency, along with incentives for electric vehicles and policies related to electricity storage.

Rooftop solar customer Krystal Hosmer says she believes lawmakers are listening to their constituents.

"It is so exciting to see our legislature go back to having Nevada be a forward-thinking state, Hosmer said.  "I think that they were just as surprised as the industry was by what happened with the PUC."

When it comes to rooftop solar, Assembly Bill 405 will create a bill of rights for solar customers.  The bill of rights would restore the way rooftop solar customers, both the grandfathered and new customers, are reimbursed by the utility company. 

However, the rate can be reduced gradually over time as more customers install solar systems.
   
If passed, the law would kick in on Sept. 1.

 


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