The Nevada Public Utilities Commission has voted to phase in higher rates for rooftop solar customers over a longer period of time than previously approved.
Regulators voted 3-0 on Friday to implement the new rates over 12 years, rather than four years.
Commissioners approved new rates in December for customers who use net metering, or sell excess energy from their solar panels back to the utility.
Regulators say the rates better reflect the declining cost of solar power and phase out a subsidy traditional energy customers pay to support a much-smaller group of rooftop solar customers.
Solar customers say it means their panels will take years more to pay off. Solar companies have responded by laying off employees and staging large protests outside PUC meetings.
Regulators approved a rate hike for solar customers at the end of last year as a way to phase out a subsidy they say traditional customers pay to support solar users. The original plan called for rates to take effect over four years, but a preliminary order up for consideration Friday would extend that timeline to 12 years and address a key concern from existing customers -- that their systems will now take years more to pay off.
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