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The Solar Industry brings heavy guns to bear after losing the regulatory battle to utilities in Nevada

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The utility industry is locked in a life and death batter with the solar industry across USA, as the solar industry slowly and steadily erodes away the monopoly of the utilities by supplying electricity through solar panels. The utilities have been fighting back by petitioning state electricity regulators (PUC) to lower the tariff paid to solar home owners for the surplus electricity fed into the grid and increasing the fixed charges imposed on them for using the power grid as an energy storage device. The solar industry which used to be a niche one is slowly becoming a mainstream one, with 200,000 solar jobs projected in USA by 2016 end making it one of the largest employers in the country.

The solar industry has reacted strongly to the recent changes in net metering law, which has increased the charges on solar home owners by 40% and reduced the tariffs paid under net metering. This has substantially lowered the returns on installing solar panels and made it non-competitive. Note USA does not have a standard law and state regulators frame their own regulations. Arizona had recently increased the monthly fee by $5, but had not made any drastic changes against the solar industry.

Nevada has now become the main battleground, as the solar industry is bringing out the heavy guns against the state regulator and Warren Buffett owned utilities. Major solar installers such as Solar City, Vivint Solar and others have already cut hundreds of solar jobs. Mass rallies are also being planned against the decision in major cities. Major Venture capital companies have written to the state government against these new changes, which would kill solar in Nevada. Note even as USA and other governments are trying to fight climate change by using solar energy as a key weapon, the recent PUC ruling goes against the national and state policy and aims. It remains to be seen if the PUC can withstand the massive pressure being brought against it by the solar industry. Note California which was being pressured to make similar changes by its utilities did not change its stand.

Net metering customers of Nevada Power, part of NV Energy, have seen their monthly service charge climb to $17.90 from $12.75 under the new tariff. The monthly service charge will continue to ratchet up, reaching a rate of $38.51 by Jan. 1, 2020. Credits for excess generation from rooftop solar systems also will decline over the next four years. Net metering allows rooftop solar customers to receive a credit for the excess power their systems generate.

There are 14,832 interconnected net metering customers at Nevada Power Co. in Southern Nevada, and 2,423 customers with Sierra Pacific in Northern Nevada.



Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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