Solar Update: Did Nevada’s Governor Steal the Sunshine?

Nevada’s Public Utility Commission decisively put the kibosh on solar by capping net metering, imposing higher fees, and reducing credits for solar-powered homes and businesses.
Feb 3, 2016 7:45 AM ET

The Nevada Public Utility Commission (PUC), in conjunction with Governor Brian Sandoval and the State Legislature, approved new rules last month that cap net metering credits and impose monthly fees on solar rooftop systems, dramatically reducing the financial benefit of solar and negatively affecting approximately 18,000 existing solar customers.

Solar companies, users, and advocates are inflamed, filing lawsuits that seek restitution for “anticompetitive actions, deceptive and unfair trade practices resulting in a restraint of trade, monopolization and maintenance of a monopoly over the electric utility in Nevada, price discrimination between different buyers, artificial price inflation, conspiracy to cause the aforementioned results through illegal means, and negligence.”

As a consequence of the legislation, solar industry behemoths SolarCity and SunRun have both announced that they’re pulling out of Nevada. According to Solar Energy Industries, the changes are expected to result in the loss of nearly 6,000 jobs throughout the state.

The policy change is attributed to the boom in renewables and the resulting impact on NV Energy’s profits. Many place the bulk of the blame on Nevada’s Governor, Brian Sandoval, for enabling an unfair advantage for NV Energy rather than pushing for clean energy solutions and protecting the burgeoning solar industry, which had been one of the State’s highest growth sectors.