Saturday, January 23, 2016

Nevada’s Bizarre Decision to Throttle Its Own Solar Industry, Explained

The sun is not impressed, Nevada. (Credit: Shutterstock) Click to Enlarge.
Nevada is currently embroiled in an enormous controversy over rooftop solar power.  With a recent decision, regulators have cut off the state's burgeoning solar industry at the knees, enraging customers and sending solar companies fleeing the state.

For the state's monopoly utility, it's a successful attempt to avoid competition.  For the well-funded conservative groups fighting the spread of solar around the country, it's the first decisive victory.  For most Nevadans, however, it represents an own goal, a senseless act of self-sabotage.

We'll walk through what happened and what it means for the future of solar — but first, for those with short attention spans, a tl;dr.

  • Nevada's public utility commission has radically revised the state's net metering program, slashing payments to solar homeowners by half and raising fees, a move advocates say will destroy the state's fast-growing (and wildly popular) solar industry.
  • The changes are retroactive, so existing solar homeowners are seeing their payments shrink.  They are pissed.
  • Three major solar companies have already announced they are pulling out of the state, costing it hundreds of jobs, with more to come.
  • Solar companies, homeowners, and advocates have mobilized and pressured the state to reconsider the decision, but so far it has refused.
  • Nevada is a crucial presidential swing state, and this decision could backfire against Republicans in 2016.
Read more at Nevada’s Bizarre Decision to Throttle Its Own Solar Industry, Explained

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