Nevada has always been ideal for solar installation, but today is different. Over the past year, Solar installations have spread throughout the state. There are three major reasons for this unprecedented growth.
Lasting Net Metering Changes for Nevada Solar Customers
The 2015 net metering bait and switch was devastating for Nevadans. What made it worse was that many who already had solar installed were out money too. This policy change had injurious effects on everyone.
Understandably, many have felt hesitant about renewable energy ever since. Assembly Bill 405, however, has restored hope.
AB 405 and What It Means for Nevadans
Governor Sandoval approved several solar related bills in 2017. The bill however with the most attention is the AB 405. This bill has reinstated net metering and has guaranteed protections for solar customers in Sparks, Carson City, Reno, Las Vegas, and other cities in Nevada.
Net Metering Reinstated – One of the Many Boons of Solar Power
First, let’s talk about how this bill is reinstating net metering. Now all solar customers get 95 percent of the retail price for their excess energy.
All those who get solar at this rate get the same rate for the next 20 years. This means that any changes made to net metering in the future will not hurt past installations.
Protection for Solar Customers
In the past, those that had solar had extra charges. These charges have disguised themselves as a way to balance the system. In reality, though they have punished people for choosing a different power source.
Yes, it does cost money to keep the grid maintained. However, charging people who use it less frequently extra to maintain it is not the answer.
The AB 405 sees this injustice and makes amends for it. Solar customers will no longer have fees that other utility customers don’t have.
Insurance for the Future Of Solar
With the AB 405, all Nevada citizens now have the right to generate their own power at the full retail rate. Now there is a guarantee that you won’t have to pay for the power you no longer use. Solar arrays and battery backup can now save you money in the same way as energy-efficient products.
Peak Sun-Hours Impact on Solar Installation in Nevada
The hours when the sun is highest in the sky will generate the most energy. These hours determine the amount of optimal power you can get in a day.
Correlation Between Peak Sun-Hours and Solar Arrays
Every peak sun-hour is an hour where the sun produces 1,000 watts of energy per square meter. These hours do not occur all day long, which is why they are so important. Areas that have more peak sun-hours have the potential to generate more power each day.
How Nevada Measures Up
Where you are on the globe has a direct correlation with the number of peak sun-hours. Places near the equator have more peak sun-hours because the sun is higher in the sky for longer periods of time.
The latest map produced by NREL showed that the state of Nevada has between 5 and 8.5 peak sun-hours. Las Vegas has between 7 and 7.8 hours. Reno, Carson City, and Sparks have between 6.4 and 7 hours.
In comparison to national averages, Nevada is one of the states with far more direct sunlight. States across the nation have anywhere between 0.5 to 8.5 peak sun-hours a day. Most have about 5 hours.
What NV Energy’s Solar Generations Program Means For Nevadans
In response to the changes made by the AB 405 NV energy has created a solar generations program. Each renewable system gets portfolio energy credits (PECs). Because utilities now have renewable energy standards they pay customers for their PECs.
Portfolio Energy Credits Effect on Nevada Solar Production
The Nevada portfolio standards are forcing utilities to make a change. The goal for some time has been to reach 25 percent renewable energy generation by 2025. To reach this goal Nevada needs to install 250 megawatts of power. With the return of net metering, utilities can now meet these standards through trade. This has given solar customers an added incentive to purchase solar for their home.
How NV Energy’s Solar Generations Program Works
There are a couple of ways in which you may get paid for your PECs. NV Energy will pay upfront incentives for solar arrays under 25 kilowatts. They give quarterly production incentives to systems between 25 and 500 kilowatts.
The amount you get per watt is dependent on the status of the solar customer. Non-profits, public, and low-income receive more per watt then commercial, industrial, and residential. If you don’t want to sell your PECs to your utility, you can get join the Public Utility Commission’s PEC trading program instead.
Time Value of Money (TVM): The Cost of Dragging Your Feet Getting Nevada Solar
Although the timing isn’t right for everyone, you can’t wait forever, or you miss out on maximizing the value of your solar savings over what would be a longer time span. If you are in a position where solar is possible for you now, it is the time to take action.
Nevada Portfolio Energy Credits Won’t Last Forever
A catch has come with the new changes. For every 80 megawatts of solar the rate decreases by 7 percent. Once solar customers get 75 percent for their excess power, the rate will no longer decrease. Although this isn’t bad, it is still less than you could be getting.
80 megawatts is a lot of energy and so it may seem like you have nothing to fear. The truth, however, is that with new incentives in place the longer you wait the more you stand to lose.
Although we strongly encourage you to weigh the pros and cons of solar for your situation. Don’t miss your chance by putting it off once you know.