Rooftop solar IS under attack and in a big way. Why? Because Nevada’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) started charging homes with solar panels more to use the public grid.
Almost a ticker tape parade was held for America’s largest manufacturer and leaser of solar panels, Solar City, when they wanted to come to Nevada with economic incentives. Solar City got right to work helping Nevadans get rooftop solar.
All that changed recently when the PUC thought it was appropriate for homes with rooftop solar to pay more than they were. I mean, how does that even make sense? You, as a home owner, decide to become an energy producer. During the day, you provide energy to the power grid, making it less taxing on the grid itself, and at night you pay for power just like everyone else.
The problem NV Energy has with this, is that people with rooftop solar are paying significantly less than their typical consumer. NV Energy’s argument is that, because they invested so heavily in the grid, they are unable to recoup those costs. They imply that they are losing money because people are switching to solar.
There are three parties that gain from rooftop solar, the home owner, the solar panel provider. and the environment. Now, here’s what Solar City did that NV Energy could have done a LONG time ago, but chose not to. Solar City went to home owners and said, we have two options for you when it comes to rooftop solar. You can either purchase the panels outright from us (a substantial cost for some), or you can lease them from us (a much lower cost of entry) for 20 years. The advantage the home owner has when leasing, is that their energy cost stays low. That could be on average $25-$50 a month, compared to $150-$300 a month. The advantage of the lease program for Solar City, is that now they are an energy provider, and can sell power to NV Energy to power the grid. The hope for Solar City is that their large initial investment will pay off over the next 20 years.
Let that sink in. A company invests into the state of Nevada on the hopes that over 20 years, they will turn a profit. Quite a different situation the state has seen recently. Typically, companies come in to the state for a couple of years, milk the system, then leave the state high and dry.
The interesting thing about all this is that NV Energy could have made the same investment as Solar City and actually helped Nevadans. But either one of two things stopped them, greed or they’re inept. I doubt they’re inept, so I’m leaning toward greed.
If you want to learn more about all of this, watch the video below by Ali Withers and Bloomberg Business. I promise you, it’ll be enlightening.
About Rooftop Solar
A rooftop photovoltaic power station, or rooftop PV system, is a photovoltaic system that has its electricity-generating solar panels mounted on the rooftop of a residential or commercial building or structure. The various components of such a system include photovoltaic modules, mounting systems, cables, solar inverters and other electrical accessories.
Rooftop mounted systems are small compared to ground-mounted photovoltaic power stations with capacities in the megawatt range. Rooftop PV systems on residential buildings typically feature a capacity of about 5 to 20 kilowatts (kW), while those mounted on commercial buildings often reach 100 kilowatts or more. – Wikipedia
About Solar City
SolarCity is America’s largest solar power provider. They make clean energy available to homeowners, businesses, schools, non-profits and government organizations at a lower cost than they pay for energy generated by burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas. Their approach is to install systems to the highest engineering standards while making the switch simple for their customers. They’ve revolutionized the way energy is delivered by giving customers a cleaner, more affordable alternative to their monthly utility bill. – Solar City
About NV Energy
NV Energy is a public utility which generates, transmits and distributes electric service in northern and southern Nevada, including the Las Vegas Valley, and provides natural gas service in the Reno–Sparks metropolitan area of northern Nevada. Based in Las Vegas, Nevada, it serves about 1.3 million customers and over 40 million tourists annually. NV Energy charges the highest rates out of any mountain energy company. NV Energy corporate headquarters in Las Vegas, NV
MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company (now Berkshire Hathaway Energy), a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, acquired NV Energy in a transaction completed on December 19, 2013. NV Energy will continue to be based in Las Vegas under its current name. Prior to the acquisition by MidAmerican, the company’s common stock was listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol NVE. – Wikipedia