NV lawmaker wants PUC, not legislature, to have net metering reform authority

Dive Brief:

  • Nevada lawmaker Sen. Patricia Farley (R) has drafted an amendment that would shift the state's net metering controversy over to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and allow state regulators authority to decide whether or not to expand the a cap on solar participation.
  • Farley is considering introducing the proposal as an amendment to Senate Bill 374, which she sponsors and would make changes to the state's energy conservation standards.
  • State policy in Nevada caps solar participation at 3% of peak load, or approximately 7,500 MW, but the renewable industry has been pushing for the restriction to be lifted, saying the solar industry will hit the cap this summer.

Dive Insight:

Thousands of solar jobs may be at risk as the state of Nevada approaches its self-imposed cap on net metering. Advocates say once the 3% limit is reached some 6,000 green-energy jobs will likely dry up. Conversely, utilities argue that solar customers are being subsidized by other ratepayers and that the distributed generation is cutting into profits.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) last month indicated he would meet with officials from SolarCity to discuss the issue, and now Sen. Farley has introduced an amendment which would take control over the state's net metering program and move it to the PUC.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Farley's amendment would allow state regulators to address net metering and to determine if a new rate class needs to be established. The lawmaker told the newspaper she is still meeting with parties on the issue.

Net metering changes could help the state meet its renewable goals. The American Council On Renewable Energy says that Nevada has a target of 25% renewable energy by 2025 with a "solar energy carveout, as well as strong net metering and interconnection policies designed to encourage distributed generation."

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Filed Under: Solar & Renewables Distributed Energy
Top image credit: from REC Solar (used with permission)