Vivint Solar will return to Nevada if Gov. Sandoval signs net metering bill

Dive Brief:

  • Vivint Solar will restart its operations in the Nevada market after the state's Legislature passed a bill aimed at raising rates paid to solar customers, following the example of Tesla and Sunrun who announced plans to return last week. But restarting operations depends on Gov. Brian Sandoval signing the legislation.
  • Assembly Bill 405 would restoring net metering rates close to retail for rooftop solar customers following the state's 2015 decision to reduce compensation. 
  • The state has taken other policy actions lately over renewable energy. Assembly Bill 206 increases Nevada’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to 40% by 2030, up from the current 25% by 2025 goal. And energy storage will plays a defined role as the bill requires utilities to use the technology to meet 10% of the goal.

Dive Insight:

Sandoval has indicated he will sign the solar measure, leading to several national companies announcing their intention to restart operations. Tesla's Solar City and Sunrun both plan to resume sales in the state once the legislation is finalized.

David Bywater, CEO of Vivint Solar, said in a statement that the company is pleased the state "reestablished the state's commitment" to renewable energy.

The company said it expects to create up to 60 jobs in Nevada "in the coming months," and approximately 100 total jobs once it fully resumes operations. The company pulled out in 2015, just months before the controversial decision by the PUCN. Sunrun and SolarCity, before it was purchased by Tesla, exited the state in early 2016 following the decision. 

Sunrun CEO Lynn Jurich said in a statement that the legislature's work is "a reflection of overwhelming public demand for affordable, clean energy options ... we can now say with confidence that Sunrun is coming back to Nevada.”

The states efforts are reaching beyond just rooftop solar.  Greentech Media is calling Nevada the "Most Exciting State for Energy Storage Policy" words which would have been tough to predict two years ago, when state regulators upended the solar market. Nevada was a byword for what regulators didn't want to see in net meterib battles. Alongside measures to restart the solar market, GTM notes the storage bill will count double towards the expanded renewables goal.

Ravi Manghani, energy storage director at GTM Research, said "the new policies leap-frog Nevada into the ranks of important storage markets like Arizona, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York and Washington, behind the national leader, California."

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Filed Under: Solar & Renewables Regulation & Policy
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