New Commercial Supports Nevada Solar Rate Change - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

New Commercial Supports Nevada Solar Rate Change

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Citizens for Solar and Energy Fairness are running a new commercial - stating its case - why the rate change for solar customers is good for Nevadans. The ad is airing nearly four months after the Public Utilities Commission voted for "restructure rates" for customers with solar panels increasing their monthly power bills.

While some argue it saves non-solar customers money on their power bill, others say the decision has wiped out the solar industry in the Silver State.

Commercial: "Big rooftop solar companies say they just want every choice for Nevadans."

The advertisement, paid for by Citizens for Solar and Energy Fairness is hitting the airwaves, just two days before another group launches its petition drive to restore solar energy in Nevada.

"If you're a renter or a senior citizen or someone on a fixed income, or if you don't have one of these systems on your home, you're the person paying the bill,” says Danny Thompson, spokesman.
    
The coalition says rooftop solar customers in northern Nevada each received $471 in subsidies per year paid for by non-solar customers. Thompson says the problem was NV Energy was paying retail rates instead of wholesale for excess electricity, produced by solar customers.

"You would be selling the power, basically at the same rate that NV Energy is providing it for, which is really the fair way to do it."

"It's not a choice. It's a mandate, and you have to pay for it."

"That commercial is totally misleading,” says Reid Hamilton, owner, Hamilton Solar.
    
Hamilton Solar is going out of business at the end of this week saying the PUC's decision wiped out the solar industry. Before the December vote his company was booked solid through May.

"Almost $750,000 worth of work, down to I think about $90,000."
    
It's unknown how much the new rates will save energy customers but it's estimated to be a few bucks per month. Hamilton says most won't even notice a change on their power bill.

"NV Energy is a monopoly. Every time we sign up a customer, whether that be a residential person, a school or prison or anything, they lose a customer. So, of course they're gonna try to shut us down."

Hamilton is selling his tools and equipment trying to empty out this once-full warehouse. Gone with it are 30 employees.
    
"If rates stay the same, there will not be a solar industry but I think the community and the citizens of Nevada are smart enough to demand that we want solar."

"All we're saying is if you want to do it, fine. That's good but don't make everyone else pay for it,” says Thompson.

Hamilton says he's confident solar will make a comeback in the Silver State mainly because of growing awareness. But it could take some time, possibly going through the state legislature next year.

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