Nevada Governor to Face Impact Over Release of New Fee Solar Homes

By Staff Writer

Jan 18, 2016 10:24 PM EST

Last summer at Sen. Harry Reid's National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas, President Barack Obama and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz told the world that Nevada was where all could see the value and benefit of renewable energy, especially solar.

Over the past several years, Nevada has become one of the leading US states for new rooftop solar installations, but it looks like things have come to a screeching halt. Rooftop solar fans in Nevada got a huge honking lump of coal in their Christmas stockings just last Tuesday, when the state's Public Utilities Commission voted to increase a fixed monthly fee for solar customers by about 40 percent. It also made these changes retroactive. Berkshire Hathaway's NV Energy Inc, which owns Nevada's two biggest utilities, sought the charges to offset revenue lost as solar-powered customers buy less power.

As reported by Bloomberg, the solar industry plans to protest the new fees at rallies in both Las Vegas and Carson City and the regulators scheduled a hearing. David Noble, The Commisione, receive a letter from investors including John Fisher at Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Nancy Pfund at DBL Partners.

"This is already creating a chilling effect in the investor community, and force us to reconsider future commitment of capital in the state," wrote in a letter.

Las Vegas Sun reported during the 2015 Nevada legislative session,  the representatives were contacted by constituents and had meetings and hearings with businesses involved in the fast-growing residential-solar industry. It was obvious that the people of Nevada were becoming eager to enter the age of solar, opting to either buy or lease rooftop systems. Groups that supported "distributed generation"  sought legislation to help average homeowners buy solar systems and ensure that existing regulations would allow the industry to grow and expand.

According to CNBC, solar installer SolarCity, which has more than 13,000 employees said it would cut 550 job in Nevada, just two weeks after the state's utilities commision approved changes that would reduce credits customer recive for selling excess solar power to the grid.

SolarCity Executive Lyndon Rive said on Wednesday, 6 January 2016, he was convinced that  Nevada's Governor and the utility commission did not fully understand the consequences of the decisions. The company had closed a training center in West Las Vegas. It opened a little  over a month ago. The company's shares were down 1.4 percent in early trading. Up to Tuesday, the stock had fallen about 8.5 percent since the  state's decision last December.

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