Reno Solar Capacity Factors

Nevada Solar Energy
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Why get solar in Reno: Solar capacity

When it comes to solar capacity in Reno, Nevada, there are several factors that play into it. These include net metering rates, current solar capacity, solar carve out, and utility assets.

Reno Nevada Net Metering Rate Tier Reduction

In Nevada, the main utility, NV Energy, has a rate set to reduce after every 80 megawatts of capacity is claimed. This claimed capacity is divided into applied and installed Reno Nevada solar power systems.

Tier Reductions for Planned Installations: Applied NV Solar Capacity

Applied capacity is the amount of solar approved by NV Energy, but not installed. As long as your system is installed and inspected within 12 months of the NV Energy reservation notice, you will be grandfathered in to the existing net metering rates. This means you will get the rate structure available when you signed with your solar company.

However, if you do not get installed and inspected your reservation will be withdrawn and you won’t be eligible to apply for any of the rate tiers. This means it is vital that you actually plan on installing solar when you sign with a solar company.

Tier Reductions for Current Installations: Installed Solar Capacity in Nevada

The installed capacity is the number of solar installations that have actually come to fruition. On April 3, 2019, a total of 72.637 megawatts of the 80-megawatt cap had been installed. As time progresses these tiers update on the Nevada Public Utility Commission website.

Remaining NV Energy Solar Panel Tiers

As of April 4, 2019, NV Energy has installed a total of 58.522 megawatts of the second tier of net metering rates. This rate pays 88 percent of the retail rate for the next 20 years at the location of installation. This means if you plan on moving your rate will not follow you to the next home.

The 88 percent rate tier is going quickly. If it follows suit, it will be full by the end of the summer of 2019. This estimate is about a year from when the last tier filled up; which is how long it took the first tier to reach the cap.

After the current tier fills up, there will be two tiers left. The first one will reduce the rate to 81 percent and the second tier will reduce to 75 percent. Obtaining solar now will ensure you are credited more for your solar generation.

As time goes on you will have to install more solar to compensate for the difference in rates. This means that the price of your installation will also increase. It is in Nevada customers’ best interest to install solar while the Nevada tier rate is higher.

Solar Capacity Vs. Installed Solar Capacity in Greater Reno NV Area

How much solar capacity that a state has is dependent on both installed solar and whether there is room for more. Nevada is a prime state for solar, primarily in the greater Reno area, because it’s not only promoting growth, but it also has the room for the growth it promotes.

Reno Nevada’s Capacity for Solar Panels

With the lowest annual precipitation in the nation and miles of dessert, including being one of the sunniest places in America, Reno Nevada is perfect for solar. Once you take into account the homes that don’t have solar power, this potential increases.

In 2018, natural gas still outweighed all other electric generation sources by a staggering amount. This means that there is not only room for solar, but a need for it.

Installed Solar Panel Capacity in Nevada

Knowing Nevada needs solar is great. However, if state policy is anti solar becomes an uphill battle. Thankfully, the Nevada Public Utility Commission has made some metering changes. Now there are is a net metering policy in place that looks out for people with solar installed on their homes.


Source: Solar Energy Industries Association, NV Annual Solar Installations

This policy has helped spur continual growth in Nevada’s solar market. In fact, in 2018, residential solar came close to pre-market crash solar capacity. Meaning that not only is there room for solar, but residents want it too.

H2: Solar Carve-Out for Reno Homeowners

Solar carve outs play a large role in how attractive solar is. In fact, the majority of high-ranking solar states have solar carve-outs. Thankfully, Nevada has a good Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) with a solar carve-out.

Nevada’s Renewable Portfolio Standard

A Renewable Portfolio Standard is a law; it requires electric utilities to generate a percentage of renewable energy by a specified date. If the utility doesn’t comply, they receive a fine. This fine motivates and incentivizes utilities to pay customers for their excess solar generation.

Nevada’s Renewable Portfolio Standard’s goal is 25 percent renewable energy by 2025. In 2018, Nevadans voted to increase this standard to 50 percent by 2032. Although not official, the likelihood of continued renewable energy generation incentivization is high, particularly in the greater Reno, NV area.

Solar Power Subsidies Used in Nevada

The subsidies most often used include rebates, tax credits, and renewable energy credits. Each one has different benefits for the solar customer.

Rebates for solar arrays in Nevada come in the form of a decreased overall price rather than a cash incentive. Tax credits give customers cash the year after their solar installation. Renewable energy credits earn customers money as their solar panels produce energy.

In Nevada, renewable energy credits are used to compensate residential solar customers. Currently, there is also a federal tax credit available that is slowly decreasing, and will be reduced from 30% to 26% by the end of 2019. Knowing what solar incentives are available in Nevadawill help you gain the most.

Solar Carve-Out in Nevada

Solar carve-outs allot a certain amount of the mandated renewable energy to solar based on the mediums in which solar is applied, e.g., residential vs. commercial solar installation. It forces the utility to diversify their renewable energy generation. Having a solar carve-out is a huge plus for Nevada.

Currently, Nevada’s carve-out is only 1.5 percent of the Renewable Energy Standard. The RPS requires that half of the renewable energy standard come from residential customers. Which means incentives will go to residential installations.

NV Energy Solar Supply Assets

Another thing to consider is Utility solar supply assets. Knowing what solar sources your utility is already using gives a better idea of how diversified it already is.

NV Energy Renewable Energy Power Purchase Agreements

NV Energy’s renewable energy portfolio is divided among geothermal, solar, hydroelectric power, waste, heat, and wind. These are not, however, evenly distributed. Most of the generation these NV Energy-contracted partners produce are geothermal or hydroelectric power.

Solar Supply Assets at NV Energy

NV Energy’s renewable energy portfolio is focused toward other energy sources. Meaning residental solar makes up a large portion of their solar generation. This is good news for you because it means the utiltiy will continue incentivising residental customers for excess solar.

All of these factors point toward solar being a great option for Nevada residents. If you would like to learn more about solar or find out if you qualify for an array Go Solar Group can help you if you live in Reno, Nevada, or the greater Carson City area.

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