Solar Energy Bill Causes Controversy
State lawmakers are battling over a bill in the assembly that has to do with solar energy. If you have solar panels on your house and those make more create more energy than you use, you can sell it back to NV Energy.
Right now there is a limit on the number of customers that are able to do that.
Senate Bill 374, would end the cap when it is reached, but some solar companies say changes need to be made before it passes. Current law lets solar customers essentially zero-out their electricity bills by selling their excess energy to NV Energy.
When net metering was established, so was a cap on the number of customers eligible of three percent. Lawmakers say that solar businesses relied on this to get the industry off the ground.
Senator Patricia Farley said, "It helps to convert people interested in the solar industry into customers and at the same time I think the other side is the rate payers for this. At some point the business has to stand on it's own.”
If the law passed, it would give state regulators the power to decide on a tariff to charge solar customers once the three percent cap is reached. Right now, experts say less than one percent of Nevadans have invested in solar, but that number is increasing everyday.
"We had to do it to get the industry started and now it was never meant be ongoing forever. It was mean to get it going. And now we have. Now they're doing very well and they have to change their business model,” said Farley.
But those opposed to this bill, like Sunrun said it could negatively impact the solar industry.
"It would lead to huge uncertainty that would lead to layoffs of thousands of workers who found good paying work in the solar industry," said Bryan Miller with Sunrun.
And he says if new rules for a tariff on customers were to be in place...it wouldn't be until the fall.
"Well the cap is going to be hit sometime this summer. So we're asking for something very simple, just status quo. Continue status quo until the new rules come into effect,” said Miller.
We tried reaching out to NV Energy, but they did not want to comment on this legislation at this time.
Now the amendments of the bill will be reviewed and both sides hope to come to an agreement in the next two weeks of the session.
Interested in learning more about solar power? Head to: http://solar.sunrun