Nevada regulators approve net metering draft order for NV Energy
- The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada last week approved an order setting net metering rates for NV Energy, the final step in revitalizing the state's rooftop solar industry after the program was eliminated two years ago.
- The PUC's decision orders the utility to charge solar and non-solar customers the same fees and sets compensation levels for tranches of capacity. NV Energy has until December 1 to implement the program.
- Earlier this summer, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signed Assembly Bill 405, restoring net metering rates close to the retail level for rooftop solar customers following the state's 2015 decision to reduce compensation.
Nevada regulators last week took the final step towards revitalizing the state's net metering program, though there were minor changes from the draft order to final.
The Nevada Independent reports the original order intimated that regulators must keep NV Energy “financially whole.” That language was changed to “financially viable,” to reflect risks inherent in the utility business.
Under the new rules, rooftop solar customers will be compensated at 95% of the retail electricity rate for energy sent back to the grid. The credit declines overtime in 7% for every 80 MW of rooftop solar energy deployed until it reaches a floor rate at 75% of the retail rate.
The PUCN has developed a net metering website where the amount of applied-for and connected capacity can be tracked. Currently there is approximately 6.2 MW of applied-for capacity interconnections and 0.4 MW already connected.
"We want to provide solar customers and businesses with as much real-time information about solar applications and installations as possible," PUC Chairman Joe Reynolds said in a statement.
In August, NV Energy submitted a proposal that requested regulators conduct a study of net metering impacts on all customers and an analysis for "the need for maximum demand charges for all customers." But hefty criticism from solar advocates compelled the incumbant utility to declare its proposal "dead on arrival." Instead, the PUCN approved a draft order after days of arguments that aligned the new rates with the structure laid out in the law.
Vivint Solar, Tesla and Sunrun all ended Nevada operations. Vivint Solar pulled out during the contentious discussions in 2015; Then-SolarCity and Sunrun ended theirs after after the net metering program was gutted, but now each company has announced that they will resume operations.
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