- The Nevada senate has unanimously approved a bill to give the Public Utilities Commission authority to establish solar metering rates, set potential interconnection fees and reconsider the state's 3% solar cap.
- The bill was approved Sunday, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported, after being amended on the senate floor the day before. Currently state legislators hold the authority to set solar rates and amend the cap.
- The Alliance for Solar Choice, a solar advocacy group, expressed frustration with the process, saying they should have been given opportunity to comment on the bill's changes.
Interest in Nevada's solar policy is strong, with thousands of solar jobs potentially on the line and utilities worried about rate subsidization. Senate Bill 374 was the second-most lobbied bill of the session, Sen. Kelvin Atkinson (D) told the Review-Journal. The 21-0 approval means the measure will now head to the state's Assembly, potentially shifting controversy over the state's solar policy to utility regulators.
Currently Nevada caps net metering participation at 3% of peak load, about 7,500 MW, and the solar industry is worried that they will hit the cap this summer, putting the industry's 6,000 Nevada jobs in jepoardy. The utiility industry has argued raising the cap is not necessary for the industry, and other customers wind up subsidizing solar generation.
“Everybody won’t be happy,” Atkinson told the Review-Journal. “Everybody won’t be thrilled, but it’s the right thing to do.”
The Alliance for Solar Choice's Bryan Miller said in a statement that advocates should have been allowed to comment on the amended version of the bill before the vote.
“The Nevada Coalition to Protect Ratepayers and the thousands of solar employees we represent have anticipated a public hearing concerning the future of rooftop solar," he said. "To this date we have not received one."
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) met with officials from Solar City earlier this year to discuss the cap. The proposal, drafted by Sen. Patricia Farley (R), would allow the PUC to develop rates for solar customers which could include interconnection fees. Sandoval has previously said "there is a concern" about rate subsidization.