Reno is, in many respects, one of the great residential solar hubs in the western hemisphere. A litany of policy changes and other measures have turned the solar into a bit of a solar coaster, but the city has always wound up on the right side of the solar equation. And although at times history is repeated, it is recorded so we can learn how to avoid the same mistakes in the future.
Reno is a prime example of how a past series of solar blunders can be turned into a victory, and the city itself serves as a microcosm of how other cities and states can move forward to enable residential solar for the betterment of communities worldwide.
The History of Solar in Reno
In January of 2016, the solar industry was put through a loop when NV Energy retroactively enabled a Reno solar policy change. Essentially, NV Energy got rid of their net metering program. This decision put a halt on solar power right when the industry was starting to reach its apex.
On December 23, 2015 Greentech Media stated, “The decision increases the fixed service charge for net-metered solar customers, and gradually lowers compensation for net excess solar generation from the retail rate to the wholesale rate for electricity, over the next four years.”
NV Energy’s move to change their metering program and allow it to affect people that already had solar was a bit of a shocker. It demolished possible savings and hurt individuals that had already purchased solar panels for their Reno, Nevada homes.
At the time, Nevada had become the 10th largest market for residential solar capacity. Solar-related jobs were sent into flux, and net metering policy changes dimmed the horizon for solar. As a result of the decision, many Reno solar companies had to move out of Nevada and establish a foothold in new markets to keep their heads above of water.
Reno Solar Panels: Why Get them Now?
Thankfully, a light emerged at the end of the gloomy tunnel. In June of 2017, citizens of Nevada spoke out against the rate increases, and the rate increases that were implemented in 2015 were reversed.
The Governor also appointed new utility commissioners, who established new rules and regulations that are now in favor of Reno solar customers. With these new rates in place, the solar industry has been able to make a gradual comeback in Reno, and is now back in power as one of the many residential solar hubs in the west.
We saw that this was a lasting change when Nevadans stood up again against NV Energy’s new proposal to increase the basic service charge. In opposition to this change, citizens gathered 1,464 signatures.
As a result of this protest, all of NV Energy’s customers will save 2 percent on their monthly power bill. which is good news for everyone no matter your stance on solar energy in the city of Reno.
These new policies are proof that the people of Nevada have a voice that will be heard. In fact, this unfortunate event also served as a precedent in helping Utah from taking its own recent net metering changes to more extreme levels, ensuring that Utah companies will still thrive despite net metering changes.
When Rocky Mountain Power decided to make a similar move in Utah, their solar industry was able to make a persuasive case for itself by using Nevada’s example. This led to a compromise that allowed for solar installation companies to still continue their solar install operations in Utah.
History has shown and statistics predict that solar power isn’t going anywhere. Clean energy will now have the ability to flourish again without fear of retribution from spiteful competition.
Reno Solar Installers: Go Solar Group, Sunworks, Solar City & More
As of right now, the main Reno installers are Go Solar Group, Sunworks and Solar City. These large companies are what show up first in almost every interested Reno, Nevada citizen’s mind.
Your solar needs however, might be better met by a different solar installer. It is wise to take a look at all of your options before you go with the first thing that catches your eye. This is especially true for people that are interested in buying a residential solar array.
There are many instances where the hole in the wall option may be the better opportunity. Just because it’s not the mainstream choice doesn’t mean that they aren’t worth looking into.
This will take a little more effort on your part. Instead of just going with the status quo, it requires a little more research and thought. But the solar diamonds in the rough are there for Reno citizens to dig up.
Your efforts to be an aware buyer, on the other hand, will ultimately lead to a more rewarding purchase. After looking through several companies, you will know you have picked the best fit for your needs. This is especially true given that solar is an investment.
Thankfully, there are ways to make this process a little easier. One way to get a better idea of your solar options is through review websites. Taking a look at the different companies in your area will give you a better idea of what your options are. Some review sites are biased, however, because, unfortunately, some accept money from solar companies for improved rank in the listings.
This is why it’s important to make sure you do your due diligence with these resources and make sure the review ranking is based solely on customer experience. Additionally, if you have a trusted friend who’s gone solar, speaking with them will help you in making your decision.
Take Steve Cummings, for instance: He became a Go Solar Group customer by attending one of his neighbor’s open houses for Go Solar Group down the street. Watch the video below to hear his story.
You can also do a Google search for solar companies in your area. This will give you a list of the companies that are located close to you or service your local area. Finding a company close in location is imperative in getting the best service, perhaps even more so than picking a highly rated solar service company.
Why? Because the quality of residential solar service, especially regarding the post-install procedures, hinges on solar technicians’ ability to make it to your home quickly. Buying solar panels from a Reno company that’s top-rated, but located over an hour away may delay any on-site service requests. However, solar panels require very little maintenance, so regular service would be an anomaly, not the norm.
Once you have your shortlist of Reno solar companies in your area, it is time to take a deeper look at what they bring to the table. Each solar company is a little different.
Differences in their pricing and products will help you to get a feel for a “good deal” in your area. Knowing what to look for in a solar company, however, may be a bit of a challenge. Also, make sure that you choose a Reno solar panel company based off residential install ratings, not commercial install ratings – these are two very different beasts, and each requires a unique skill set in a solar installation team. Additionally, if you want RV solar panels in Reno NV, you’ll have to follow a different process as well, as the install will be slightly different.
On Go Solar Group’s Blog, there is a post that helps prospective solar customers know what to look for in an installer. This post addresses where to look for quality reviews, price over quality, module options, inverters, installation, and battery backup.
It is companies like Go Solar Group that may be the better option when one takes a closer look. If you would like to take a look at what Go Solar Group can offer you we can put together a free assessment for your home. We are not the biggest solar company in town, but our success hinges more heavily on pleasing the customers we do get, meaning those who come to us will always be given the royal treatment.
The Future of Residential Solar in the Sunny City of Reno
Nevada’s new state requirements for clean energy make it safe to say that future solar customers will not have to worry about repeats in the historical mistake outlined earlier in this post. Although competition will continue in their efforts to stomp out worthy opponents, the public voice will always prevail, and we hear you Reno, Nevada – We hear you.