2020 Guide to NV Energy Approved Solar Installation

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2020 Guide to NV Energy Approved Solar Installations

Given that homeowners often stay connected to the grid, their utility companies need to approve their solar installations. Knowing NV Energy’s expectations expedites the process for Reno homeowners.

NV Energy Solar Array Sizing Stipulations

The utility company can make or break a solar installation. Every utility has different array sizing stipulations. Before starting an application for a solar array, the customer should determine how large of a system they need.

Sizing For Your Initial Solar Installation

NV Energy bases its sizing requirements on the customer’s highest year of electricity use in the past two years. The only exception includes residences without 12 consecutive months of usage.

NV Energy has two different accepted sizing methods for homes without usage. Either an estimate based on the number of months of electricity use the homeowner has or the home’s square footage.

Solar companies estimating a solar array size in Northern Nevada can add two watts of alternating current per square foot of the home. Homes in Southern Nevada can add up to 2.8 watts of alternating current per square foot.

Under And Oversizing Your Solar Array

NV Energy will allow customers to undersize these estimates; however, they can’t exceed them. If possible, it’s best to obtain accurate usage for your Nevada residential solar estimates. Proposals put together without a year of energy use will most likely differ from the actual amount of solar power needed.

An undersized array will not cover all of the homeowner’s electricity needs, and they will continue to pay the utility for the electricity their solar array doesn’t produce. If the solar company estimates an oversized system, NV Energy will not allow the install.

Adding to Your Initial Solar Installation

Those considering adding to their solar arrays need to fall into one of NV Energy’s four categories:

  1. The homeowner has added square footage to their home since their solar installation.
  2. The homeowner has purchased an electric vehicle that uses an in-home charging station.
  3. The homeowner didn’t have 12 months of consecutive usage before their solar application submission.
  4. The homeowner has a significant load increase.

To install additional solar, it needs to meets NV Energy’s standards. Here are some of the prerequisites; to be sure, ask NV Energy if the proposed addition meets its standards.

  • All solar installations that have or will receive interconnection cannot exceed 1 Megawatt.
  • Non-incentive expansions to an incentivized installation will need a separate meter or the customer will forfeit the remaining Portfolio Energy Credits (PEC) to NV Energy.
  • Additions to a solar array that already received a production-based solar incentive will not require a REC meter for the added solar.

NV Energy Siting And Equipment Requirements

NV Energy has standards set that all solar installations need to meet. These requirements include: 

  • Solar arrays can’t have more than 25 percent annual shading.
  • The system needs proof that it meets NV Energy’s azimuth standards.
  • A solar array can only have solar panels and inverters included on the CEC list of approved solar equipment.
  • Solar installations can only use new equipment.
  • Solar panels need at least a 20-year product or production warranty.
  • Inverters need a 7-year product warranty.
  • The whole system needs a 2-year workmanship and labor warranty.

NV Energy Solar Application

NV Energy reviews all solar applications within 10 business days in the order received. If the application doesn’t meet NV Energy standards, the installer has 20 days to make the necessary corrections. If corrections aren’t completed on time, the customer forfeits their application fee and place in line.

Documentation Needed for Solar Only Applications

  • Copy of installation contract or energy services agreement
  • A recent copy of the customer’s NV Energy utility bill
  • Site Plan
  • One-line diagram
  • If applying as a low-income resident or as a non-profit, provide proof of eligibility

Documentation Needed for Energy Storage Only Applications

  • Copy of installation contract or energy services agreement
  • A recent copy of the customer’s NV Energy utility bill
  • Site Plan
  • Energy storage technical specification
  • One-line diagram

Documentation Needed for Solar and Energy Storage Applications

  • Copy of installation contract or energy services agreement
  • A recent copy of the customer’s NV Energy utility bill
  • Site Plan
  • Energy storage technical specification
  • One-line diagram
  • If applying as a low-income resident or as a non-profit, provide proof of eligibility

Photovoltaic Inspections for Nevadans

After completing the solar installation, the city and utility will inspect the install. These inspections comprise the final step before the homeowner can utilize the system.

Post-Installation inspections

After the solar array is installed, the homeowner will have a post-installation inspection scheduled. In this inspection, the inspector will verify that the system meets all the NV Energy requirements.

Interconnection safety verification

The interconnection safety inspection verifies that the system can now connect to the grid. Unless the installer needs to make corrections, this will conclude the inspection process.

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