Simplifying the Solar Generations Program

Nevada Energy Rebates
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solar incentives and rebates

NV Energy customers have a unique opportunity to increase their solar savings. However, their incentive requirement PDF is a daunting 48-page leviathan of valuable, but dense information. To help you out, we took a deep dive into NV Energy’s program handbook for their Renewable Generations program and created this simplified guide.

NOTE: This program has since been replaced with NV Energy’s Clean Energy program. Rooftop solar is no longer included in these incentives.

Eligibility for NV Energy Solar and Energy Storage Incentives

If an incentive-qualified system’s life expectancy is five years or less, the owner needs to keep the system for at least five years to keep the entire incentive. NV Energy will deduct part of the offered incentive if it is removed either within the first five years or before the majority of the warranty expires.

Make sure the solar installer has an active C-2 or C-2g Nevada Contractor’s License. If this license isn’t valid, NV Energy will not give the incentive or hold the net metering rate.

Solar Incentive Eligibility

To determine solar eligibility, customers first need to determine the category of utility customers they are. There are three types of solar incentives available through NV Energy under the Solar Generations Program: Residential, Small Commercial, Non-residential, and Low-income/non-profit.

Residential Solar Eligibility

NV Energy bills tell the customer their customer category. Residential customers can qualify for the residential solar incentive.

A look at Non-residential Solar Customers

Non-residential customers can also acquire solar incentives. What incentives they are eligible for depends on their usage classification (small or large). Non-residential customers that are GS-2 or anything above LGS-1 is considered a large-commercial customer.

Low-income or Non-profits and Solar

To get low-income or non-profit solar credits, customers need to provide proof. There are several different proof types, but only one form is necessary.

Some of these forms of proof include ownership of subsided housing and qualification for the federal low-income housing tax credit. Customers can also show their income is less than the low-income limits.

Energy Storage Eligibility

If homeowners add battery backup to a past solar installation or install solar with their battery, they can qualify for an NV Energy incentive. If the customer is a non-profit or low-income customer, they will need to prove it with one form of documentation.

Storage for Residential Customers

The minimum for the residential energy program is 8 kilowatt-hours. While homeowners can get up to 1,000 kilowatt-hours of capacity, NV Energy will only incentivize up to 100 kilowatts. All residential-storage systems need at least 75 percent renewable energy to qualify.

Storage for Non-residential Customers

There are two different types of non-residential solar customers. These include the small commercial and large commercial. Small-commercial solar is between 4 and 100 kilowatt-hours, and large-commercial solar is between 100 and 1,000 kilowatt-hours.

The minimum for the commercial storage program is 100 kilowatts. The storage system also needs to be powered by at least 75 percent renewable energy to qualify.

NV Energy’s Incentive Application Requirements

All applications are submitted online through NV Energy’s application portal. Once NV Energy receives the application, it can take up to 10 business days for the review process. If the NV Energy application comes back needing corrections and they aren’t corrected and sent in within 20 days, the hold on the solar incentives and application fee are forfeited.

There is also a $35 non-refundable application fee. This fee is typically taken care of by the solar installer, but it is good to clarify whether the solar company expects the customer to submit it. NV Energy reviews applications in the order fees were submitted.

Applications for Differing Property Owners and Host Customers

If the host customer is different than the property owner, the property owner needs to be a co-applicant on the utility account or the installation contract. The host customer should be on the utility application; if the property owner isn’t on the solar-contract, the host customer should.

Required Documents for NV Energy’s Incentive Application

Which incentives applied for determines which documents are necessary. Customers installing both a solar array and energy storage need the most documentation.

Solar plus energy storage systems require six documents. These include the installation contract, a recent copy of the host customer’s electric bill, site plan, energy storage technical specifications, one line-diagram, and evidence of host customer category eligibility.

In a storage-only application, applicants need all the same documents except the evidence of host customer category eligibility. If the applicant is only getting the solar incentive, they need all the above documents except the energy storage technical specification.

System Sizing Requirements

NV Energy is very particular about the size of the installation. Making sure that the system meets these requirements beforehand will save time.

Solar Array Sizing

The size of the system needed depends on the last 12 months of energy usage for the residence receiving solar. NV Energy determines how big a solar array can be by calculating the highest 12 consecutive months of usage within the last two years.

If the homeowner has only lived in the home for a couple of months, they can still purchase solar. However, the sizing of the system will not be as accurate. 

Solar calculations based on a few months of energy usage are possible. The array can also be sized by 2 or 2.8 watts per square foot, depending on where the Nevada home is. 

Energy Storage Sizing

For NV Energy to approve a solar-powered storage system, the power capacity ratio of solar to storage must be a minimum of 0.35. As stated above, the storage system needs to be at least 75 percent charged by renewable energy.

Residential storage needs to have at least 8 kilowatt-hours of storage capacity. Commercial systems need to store at least 100 kilowatts. Both residential and commercial systems can’t exceed 1,000 kilowatts.

Installation Standards Sitting and Equipment

NV Energy has standards for every aspect of the installation process. It is in the customer’s best interest to follow these standards so they can secure incentives and net metering.

Installation Standards to Follow

There are several different standards in place for both solar generation and storage. These standards include the RE-3 Standard for solar and storage one-line diagrams. The RE-1 Standard gives requirements for generators operating in parallel with electrical systems.

The NFPA 855 Standard is fire code regulations for energy storage systems. The RPM-G Standard addresses the minimum manufacturing requirements for utility metering and service equipment.

The RPI-G Standard provides NV Energy installation requirements. Rule 15 has information about interconnection, operation, and metering requirements.

NV Energy Requirements for Sitting and Equipment

Once the system is complete and the customer’s incentive claim package sent, the system review process starts. Below is the list of things reviewed during this process.

NV Energy requires all systems have approved azimuth. The solar modules and inverters need to be on the California Energy Commission list. All PV and storage equipment must be new with standard warranties.

Solar storage systems need a permanent installation and connection to a net-metered solar system. They also need to operate parallel to the grid and have a minimum of 85 percent round-trip efficiency.

Incentive Calculation, Reservation and Claim

Reserving and claiming incentives is a vital step to how much these incentives will save. The technicalities of this process should be taken care of by the solar installer because they require solar experience and expertise to have it completed correctly.

Taking a Look at your Incentive

Before diving into how to reserve and claim the incentive, let’s look at how much customers can save with it.

Residential Storage Incentive

The storage incentive can be given either as a time-of-use or non-time-of-use rate. Which one is best for depends on the energy habits of the property owner.

Those on the time of use can receive up to $0.22 per watt-hour. This rate, however, is dependent on the time of day and year. Those who opt-out of the time of use metering receive $0.11 per watt-hour no matter when metered. Each premise with an installed storage system can receive up to $3,000 in incentives.

For every million dollars of incentive given, this incentive decreases. Time-of-use (TOU) rates are lowered by $0.02 per watt-hour. The non-TOU decreases by $0.005 per watt-hour.

These incentives will continue to lower until TOU reaches $0.14 per watt-hour and $0.09 per watt-hour for non-TOU. 

Two Commercial Storage Incentive Programs: Critical Vs. Non-critical

Non-residential customers with storage between four and 100 kilowatts can choose between TOU and non-TOU. Those who use TOU can get up to $0.15 per watt-hour, and the non-TOU can receive up to $0.08.

Non-residential customers that have critical infrastructure can qualify for a higher incentive. They can receive up to $0.40 per watt-hour either with a cap of the lesser of 50 percent or $300,000.

Non-critical commercial systems can receive up to $0.30 per watt-hour. They also have a cap of the lesser of either 50 percent or $200,000. Like the residential incentive, these incentives decrease.

NV Energy Solar Installation Incentives

For solar installations, the incentives look a little bit different. Solar arrays less than 25 kilowatts receive an expected performance-based buy-down (EPBB). This incentive is a one-time payment that is determined by the expected production from the solar array.

Residential, commercial, and industrial arrays below 25 kilowatts receive $0.20 per watt. Low-income non-profit and public entities can get $0.45 per watt.

Systems between 25.001 and 500 kilowatts receive performance-based incentives (PBI). This incentive is paid quarterly for the next five years. They base this incentive on production during the quarter.

The incentive rate for residential commercial and industrial customers installing above 25 kilowatts is $0.0250 per kilowatt-hour. Low-income non-profit and public entities receive $0.0550 per kilowatt-hour.

Incentive Reservation Requirements

property owners need a reservation notice to receive an incentive for their installation. When approved, the applicant, host customer, installer, and property owner get an e-mail informing them of their incentive reservation.

This notice tells the type of incentive and the amount awarded. Installations need completing within 12 months after this notice.

A non-complete installation will result in a voided reservation. Customers with voided reserved incentives can’t apply for a new incentive rate.

Energy storage systems fewer than 100 kilowatts can apply for up to two 6-month extensions. Storage systems between 100 and 1,000 kilowatts have 18 months to get the system installed with up to three 6-month extensions.

How to Claim Your Incentive

Once customers receive their incentive notice e-mail, they can complete the installation. When the installation is complete, they can send in their incentive claim package.

For solar and storage-claim, there are five necessary documents. These documents include: a signed interconnection agreement, signed the incentive claim form, copy of a building permit, equipment and labor invoice, and photos of the installed system are necessary documents.

The incentive claim for solar requires all of the same documents except the equipment and labor invoice and photos of the install. The incentive claim for storage requires all the above except a signed interconnection agreement.

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