Rooftop Solar Could Provide Millions In Benefits To Nevada Residents, Say SolarCity & NRDC

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Rooftop solar could provide $7 million in benefits annually for all Nevada utilities, according to a new report published by SolarCity and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

SolarCity Expanding Operations To NevadaThe new peer-reviewed paper, Distributed Energy Resources in Nevada, was released this week by US solar energy provider SolarCity and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an international nonprofit environment organization, and is the first such paper to measure all the rooftop solar costs and benefit variables identified by the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada.

Specifically, the report shows that rooftop solar generation provides 1.6 cents of benefit per kilowatt-hour of energy generated, resulting in $7 million in benefits per year for all Nevada utility customers. The report identifies all environmental and health externalities, which increases the benefits of rooftop solar to 3.4 cents per kilowatt-hour, and $14 million annually.

“This study confirms what Nevadans already intuitively know: the thousands of rooftop solar systems across the state benefit all Nevadans, and the state should have policies which encourage the deployment of more distributed energy,” said Jon Wellinghoff, Chief Policy Officer of SolarCity. “As Nevada policymakers are planning the energy grid of the future, we encourage them to consider the potential of distributed energy resources to build a smarter, more resilient grid to power our economy with affordable clean energy.”

“A close examination of the costs and benefits of rooftop solar generation in Nevada confirms that a continued partnership between customers and their utility to promote investment in clean energy benefits everyone,” added Noah Long, Director of the Western Energy Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “It will help avoid building unnecessary utility infrastructure that can increase all customers’ bills, and helps cut the carbon pollution that harms our health and fuels dangerous climate change.”

The report also provides “Recommendations and Next Steps” that the authors believe must now be taken by policymakers in Nevada. Among these recommendations is the need for Nevadan policymakers and regulators to develop advanced grid planning procedures that incorporate all benefits depicted by the report into the utility ratemaking process, which would provide a clearer picture for Nevadan utility customers to rate the benefits of solar, and to see the benefits solar is having on their electricity bills.

Additionally, the authors also concluded:

  • Distributed energy resource cost/benefit analyses and associated regulatory proceedings should utilize the expanded benefit and cost categories identified by the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada at a minimum, and ideally the full list of categories identified in this paper
  • Regulators should pursue opportunities to remove or mitigate the utility financial disincentive that currently biases decision-making against utilizing distributed energy resources, favoring utility-owned infrastructure instead
  • Utilities should modernize grid planning processes and utilize integrated distribution planning to fully leverage distributed energy resources into grid design and operations

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Joshua S Hill

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at about.me for more.

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