Understanding Nevada Solar Programs
Nevada has taken many steps towards becoming an environmentally friendly state. With many sun hours and a lot of unused space that can be dedicated to solar, Nevada is a premier state to harness the power of the sun. Nevada knows this and the state government has implemented many programs to help solar grow. There are both residential and commercial programs, each having its own place in Nevada’s solar landscape.
Residential Solar Programs in Nevada
Most homeowners will be more interested in the residential solar programs. These are the solar programs dedicated towards rooftop or ground-mounted solar. They have been put in place to help Nevada homeowners go solar without too much of a strain on their finances.
While the federal solar tax credit is available to all Americans who want to go solar, Nevada does not have a state version. The main incentive that Nevada residents can utilize is net metering.
Net Metering for Nevada Homeowners
Net metering is when electricity produced by your solar panels gets distributed back to the power grid. You are then credited on your power bill for the amount of electricity you sent back. The rate that you are credited can differ depending on your utility.
Net Metering With NV Energy
For customers of NV Energy, the current net metering credit is 75 percent of the retail rate. Customers who entered net metering agreements with NV Energy in previous years may have a higher rate, up to 95 percent of the retail rate. NV Energy guarantees your net metering rate for 20 years following your agreement.
Net Metering With Valley Electric Association
The other main electric utility in Nevada is the Valley Electric Association (VEA). The VEA originally had a full retail rate for residential solar installations. However, following the renegotiation of the contract in October of 2020, the rate was dropped to 75 percent. While lower than it was initially, this rate is still much higher than the avoided cost rate that many companies offer.
Non-Residential Solar Programs in Nevada
Nevada has been strengthening its solar programs for the commercial and public fields. In accordance with its renewable energy goals, which stipulate 50 percent of all energy must come from renewable sources by 2030, Nevada has implemented multiple solar incentives.
Some of these incentives are targeted at small businesses and public buildings. There is also a round of incentives targeted at large businesses, which were implemented to begin shifting large-scale electricity generation towards renewable methods.
Small Business and Public Solar Incentives
Begun in 2010 and ending in June 2021, the Nevada Public Utilities Commission (PUC) ran the Solar Energy Systems Incentive Program. The program was targeted at schools, other public buildings, and also included residential homes and small businesses. While the program has since ended, many projects were in the process of receiving the incentives.
The PUC Solar Rebates
The main incentive the PUC offered was the possibility of a rebate on solar installations. The rebate came from the local utility. The utility was given funding through the PUC, which was collected from a slight monthly increase in power bills across the state. In a sense, a slight tax increase for all homeowners was used to stimulate the local economy and bring solar power to multiple different venues.
Large-Scale Solar Incentives
Nevada has worked tirelessly to ensure that large-scale solar energy production can happen in Nevada. While residential solar is very important, only with widespread renewable energy production can Nevada meet its clean energy goals? With this goal in mind, the Nevada state government implemented the Renewable Energy Tax Abatement (RETA) program.
How RETA Impacts Nevada Energy
RETA is a very important program for commercial level renewable energy production. First implemented in 2009, the program created close to 12,500 jobs and drew $10 billion in capital investment to the state. The program therefore has a twofold benefit of providing economic stimulus and clean energy. But how did it work?
The First Benefit of the RETA: Sales Tax Abatement
The RETA includes a provision for qualified solar facilities that locks their sales tax at 2.6 percent. The provision includes stipulations about employing a certain number of Nevada residents and having a higher than average pay rate for those employees. However, with how large of an investment is necessary to open a commercial power plant, having a low sales tax can shave off a large portion of the cost.
The Second Benefit of the RETA: Property Tax Abatement
If the company adheres to the stipulations listed above, along with having a capacity of at least 10 MW, they can qualify for a property tax abatement. The abatement can be worth up to 55 percent of the value of the facility.
With all of these taken alongside federal level incentives, like the solar tax credit, it becomes clear that there are many ways for Nevadans to save.