Solar for Your Home: Worth Reconsidering in Nevada?
On July 1st, more grant money became available for installing solar at your home. Here's how much you can save, and what it means for Nevada's solar industry…
Nevada's solar industry has had some trying times. After new metering rules reduced credits in 2015, Solar City, Vivint, and Sunrun left Nevada. In Reno, Hamilton Solar and Sunvelope closed their doors. Business dried up. At solar contractor company Petersen Dean, regional sales manager Casey Coffman told us, "It went from multiple thousands of applications per month to 28 in the year 2016. So it was about a 99% reduction in solar applications."
But after public outcry, net metering was restored last year. Business is back on the upswing. Peterson Dean just moved into a new space 4 times the size of their old warehouse, now stocked with over 1,000 solar panels. As Coffman put it, "Our business on the solar side has really, really picked up for sure."
The big upswing was certainly noticed at NV Energy, where senior engineer of Renewable Energy Programs Kelly Webster told us, "We had over 1,500 applications last month. We think that they're increasing because the regulatory environment is very friendly towards solar."
It's all because the cold shoulder on solar is no more. As of July 1st, northern Nevada homeowners get an average $1300 for installing solar at home. Its part of a $295 million renewable energy program submitted by NV Energy and approved by the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada. Webster says, "We put in an annual plan yearly to the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada. It gets approved and then the new incentive levels are approved on July 1st of that year." Back at Petersen Dean, Coffman says from what he sees, "We've seen anywhere from $400 up to $3000 paid back for larger solar arrays."
Not only that, the feds allow a 30% tax break for the cost of installation. Coffman says that covers "All the way through 2019, and then it starts on a declining scale after that. There's never been a better time to go solar than now for sure."
Add the credit you get for excess power, and solar's looking like a good deal again. Technology's helped too…more efficiency for more savings: "You essentially need fewer panels to do the same amount of work these days, but the biggest thing that's happened is the cost has come down."
Down 60-70% over the last 10 years. Coffman admits the installations are still expensive: "The average is, before the credits and everything of course, around $20,000." Take the average $1000 off and with the 30% tax break? "You're down to $12,000. Usually that's going to pay for itself in 10 years or less.”
To check out the savings for yourself, we have a link to the Solar Electric Incentive program for you below: