- A compromise between Nevada solar advocates and NV Energy would, if approved by the full legislature, allow for 235 MW of net metered residential solar to be installed in the state, even after the state’s cap on net metering at 3% of peak load is surpassed.
- Senate Bill 374, passed earlier this month, authorized state regulators to add a monthly charge to solar owners’ electricity bills, but did not address the net metering cap until an amendment was added after heavy solar industry lobbying, Greentech Media reports.
- That amendment to raise the net metering cap was reached in a deal brokered by Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) between NV Energy and solar companies. It was approved by the assembly's Commerce and Labor Committee over the weekend.
The amended bill now requires approval by the House and re-approval by the Senate.
Solar industry authorities say the 3% cap on net metered systems will be reached sometime this summer. If net metering expires, industry authorities say, the solar value proposition could be compromised, squelching demand and costing as many as 6,000 jobs.
With net metering in place, rooftop solar could help Nevada meet its 25% renewables mandate by 2025 and the 1.5% solar carve out in it.
NV Energy, the state’s dominant electricity provider and a subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy, is concerned about a shifting of costs for infrastructure maintenance from solar owners to non-solar owners.
Like many U.S. utilities, NV Energy argues that when solar owners’ generate their own power and buy less of it from the utility, they necessarily pay less for grid upkeep. Those costs, utilities say, are imposed on non-solar owners. But a recent E3 study found Nevada’s solar incentive programs will likely provide all ratepayers savings into the 2020s.
Correction: A previous version of this post stated that the compromise had raised Nevada's net metering cap by 235 MW. That is false. The legislation would set the net metering cap at 235 MW total.