What Are Reno’s Solar Capacity Factors?

Nevada Solar FAQs
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Why get solar in Reno: Solar capacity

When it comes to solar capacity in Reno, Nevada, several factors 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 claimed capacity. This claimed capacity divides 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 into the net metering tier available when you signed with your solar company.

However, if you do not get installed and inspected, NV Energy will withdraw the reservation and eligibility to apply for the other rate tiers. You must 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 come to fruition. As of June 2020, Nevadan’s hit the third tier 80-megawatt cap. As time progresses, these tiers update on the Nevada Public Utility Commission website.

Remaining NV Energy Solar Panel Tiers

NV Energy customers who want to transition to solar can currently apply for the fourth tier of net metering. Obtaining solar now will ensure you are credited 75 percent for net generation for the next 20 years.

While the fourth tier won’t decrease unless legislative action occurs, there isn’t a guarantee of how long this will take. It’s 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 a state has depends on 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 room for the growth it promotes.

Reno Nevada’s Capacity for Solar Panels

With the lowest annual precipitation in the nation, miles of desert, and its reputation as one of the sunniest places in America, Reno, Nevada, is perfect for solar. Once the homes without solar are taken into account, this potential increases.

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

Installed Solar Panel Capacity in Nevada

Having the capacity for solar is the first step. However, if state policy is anti-solar, adding solar becomes an uphill battle. 

Thankfully, the Nevada Public Utility Commission has made some metering changes. Nevada now has 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 the state has room for solar, and the residents want it too.

Solar Carve-Out for Reno Homeowners

Solar carve-outs play a large role in how attractive solar is. 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 is 50 percent renewable energy by 2030. 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.

Currently, the federal tax credit provides the most help. However, it will reduce from 26 to 22 percent by the end of 2023. Knowing what solar incentives are available in Nevada helps customers gain the most.

NV Energy Solar Supply Assets

Another thing to consider is utility solar supply assets. The utility’s current renewable resources contribute to its diversification.

NV Energy Renewable Energy Power Purchase Agreements

NV Energy’s renewable energy portfolio divides into geothermal, solar, hydroelectric power, waste, heat, and wind. These aren’t, however, evenly distributed. Most of the generation these NV Energy-contracted partners produce includes geothermal or hydroelectric power. 

Solar Supply Assets at NV Energy

NV Energy’s renewable energy portfolio focuses on other energy sources. Meaning residential solar makes up a large portion of its solar generation, which is good news for Nevadans because it means the utility will continue incentivizing residential 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 those who live in Reno, Nevada, or the greater Carson City area.


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