- Before the end of this year, a new assessment shows, Nevada will reach its 235 MW cap on distributed solar that can qualify for net energy metering (NEM) and be remunerated at the retail electricity rate for power sent to the grid.
- Solar advocates have petitioned the Nevada Public Utilities Commission to extend the cap to cover all distributed solar installed through December 31 or until the commission sets new rates and a new remuneration level for NEM.
- The need for urgent action to keep the solar industry, which employs 6,000 Nevadans, stable through the end of the year arose because NV Energy is getting 6 MW of solar interconnection applications per week, twice its expectation, and because, according to solar advocates, the utility omitted 17.5 MW of capacity from the projections it submitted at the legislature’s order.
Instead of raising the state's NEM cap in the last session, lawmakers ordered the PUC to create a new rate class for solar. NV Energy at that time projected the solar cap would be reached around March 2016. Solar advocates said it would be reached this summer because of the unaccounted-for 17.5 MW.
SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive told lawmakers there would be “massive devastation” to the state’s solar industry if NV Energy’s projections were wrong.
Every 1% in the NEM cap adds $8 million to $10 million in customer costs, according to NV Energy, so if the cap is increased 5% it will add about a $50 million burden.
"Overall, we do not estimate a substantial cost shift to non-participants due to NEM going forward," according to a report prepared last year for the PUC by Energy + Environmental Economics. "We estimate a total [net present value] benefit of 2004-2016 NEM systems to non-participating ratepayers of $36 million during the systems’ lifetimes."