Nevada Rooftop Solar Exodus Grows

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Add Sunrun to the list of solar companies ending their Nevada operations in response to a net metering ruling by the Nevada Public Utilities Commission.

The San Francisco-based company today said it has ceased all operations in Nevada, a move resulting in hundreds of job losses.

Nevada road sign shutterstock_343112417In a press announcement, the company said the layoffs and its exit from Nevada are the direct result of new rules adopted by Governor Sandoval’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) as well as actions taken by NV Energy and Nevada politicians.

The solar energy job loss in the state will be significant. Sunrun, the largest dedicated residential solar company in the US, said ending all operations in Nevada will result in hundreds of job losses. Sunrun added it hopes to transition its Nevada-based employees to other positions within the company where possible or place them with other local organizations.

Add SolarCity to the list of solar companies exiting Nevada. As reported earlier on CleanTechnica, SolarCity said Wednesday it has eliminated 550 positions in Nevada as a result of the new net metering rate, which includes an increase in the fixed monthly service charge plus lower credits for excess energy produced by homeowners’ rooftop solar systems. The company stopped all sales, training, and installations, but is maintaining its customer support services.

Impacts will be felt by residential solar system owners

There is also the significant downside for 14,832 interconnected net metering customers at Nevada Power Co. in Southern Nevada, and 2,423 customers with Sierra Pacific in Northern Nevada, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal. All of these customers have made long-term investments in solar with the expectation of a predictable return-on-investment.

Sunrun added this perspective concerning the PUC action:

“On January 1, 2016, the PUC adopted rules that are more adverse to solar customers than those publicly proposed by NV Energy. The new rules will block thousands of homeowners from choosing clean, affordable electricity, ending the only chance Nevadans had at enjoying choice and competition in electric energy. The rules also undermine the investments of the approximately 16,000 existing solar customers in the state. The reduction or outright elimination of savings for these existing customers was proposed by Commission Staff, who said in testimony that they neither conducted analysis of the retroactive impact on existing customers nor analyzed the impact it would have on future investment in Nevada. Given that Commission Staff conducted no analysis of these impacts, Sunrun called on the PUC commissioners to reconsider their decision.”

Bryan Miller, Sunrun senior vice president of public policy & power markets, said, “Nevada passed incentives to attract residents to go solar. But after baiting homeowners with incentives, the state switched the rules, penalizing solar homeowners to deliver additional profit to NV Energy. This bait and switch hurts Nevada families, many of whom are retirees on fixed incomes, and who use solar savings to meet their monthly budgets.”

PUC Commissioner David Noble will hear testimony on petitions to stop the new rate from taking effect later Thursday. The rate took effect. Jan. 1. The full PUC will consider the request to delay the rate change at its meeting next week.

We hope the PUC respects the investments Nevada solar homeowners have made and votes to stop the rooftop solar exodus now taking place.

Image: Nevada road sign via Shutterstock

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Glenn Meyers

is a writer, producer, and director. Meyers was editor and site director of Green Building Elements, a contributing writer for CleanTechnica, and is founder of Green Streets MediaTrain, a communications connection and eLearning hub. As an independent producer, he's been involved in the development, production and distribution of television and distance learning programs for both the education industry and corporate sector. He also is an avid gardener and loves sustainable innovation.

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