The summer of 2017 will be remembered as a pivotal moment for the solar industry in Nevada, and quite possible the rest of the country as well.
Not only has net metering been reinstated, but there are now other benefits for those that wish to produce their own energy.
Net metering is now reinstated with producers of solar power benefiting from compensation for their excess electricity provided to the grid at a rate of 95 percent of retail value. The compromise part of the Assembly Bill 405 is that, after an extensive amount of new solar installs occur, net metering compensation reduces to a floor of 75 percent. It has taken about a year and a half of public outcry to bring back what the Nevada Public Utilities Commission took away from its solar customers.
In addition to this favorable net metering change, AB 405 also calls for a legal guarantee for “the right to self-generate.” This is an extremely powerful idea. It not only guarantees the basic right of individuals and businesses to continue to install solar panel systems, but it also has implications for energy storage. Nevada Power (and eventually other utilities) will not be able to prevent the use of home energy storage systems in conjunction with solar power systems. These rate payers will be in the same class as other energy customers and not charged any new additional rates. Nevada is the first state to add this right in addition to a basic net metering law.
The implication that this favorable solar-plus-storage bill has for the rest of the country cannot be understated. As battery storage technologies continue to decrease in cost, it will not be much longer before it makes economic sense for the adoption of energy storage systems along with solar panel systems all across the U.S. It’s been stated before – utilities will become primarily a provider of back up energy services.
This new change has considerable implications for the Las Vegas solar market, as a very high percentage of homeowners have yet to go solar in Nevada’s largest city. While the large solar panel companies are headed back to Vegas, they will find considerable competition by the much more nimble, and often more cost competitive smaller businesses. This new competitive landscape will provide more choice and ultimately more value for Las Vegas solar shoppers.