Commercial, Energy Storage, Industrial, Regulation, Commercial, Industrial, Regulation, Solar, Sourcing Renewables  -  June 7, 2017 - By Amy Poszywak

Nevada lawmakers pass bills to restore net metering, raise renewables standard, launch community solar

Evidence of a shift in clean energy policies in Nevada, the Legislature this week passed a series of bills that will increase the state's use of renewable energy and customer access to it. 

Assembly Bill 206 increases Nevada's renewable energy standard to 40% by 2030 from 25% by 2025, though an earlier version of the bill contained a more aggressive increase. That bill was supported by a number of the state's largest corporations, including MGM Resorts International, Dignity Health, eBay, Levi Strauss & Co., Switch and Unilever. 

According to a June 7 report from Greentech Media, A.B. 206 also includes language encouraging the use of energy storage in meeting the renewable energy target. The publication reported: 

Each kilowatt-hour of energy delivered by a qualified energy storage device will count double for the purposes of meeting the RPS requirement. There are two ways for a storage system to qualify: if it charges from renewable generation and discharges during a peak load period, or if it performs ancillary grid services that help integrate renewable generation.

A separate bill, A.B. 405, would restore net metering rates close to retail for rooftop solar customers that the state reduced in 2015 after a highly contested debate between the solar industry and Nevada's largest utility, NV Energy. The 2015 decision resulted in a number of residential solar companies exiting the market.

On June 6, one of those companies, Sunrun, announced its plans to re-enter. 

"The near unanimous bipartisan support for legislation to reinstate net metering and establish a bill of rights for solar customers is a reflection of overwhelming public demand for affordable, clean energy options," CEO and Co-Founder Lynn Jurich said in a statement. "Thanks to the hard work of Governor Sandoval and Nevada State Legislators, we can now say with confidence that Sunrun is coming back to Nevada." 

Additionally, Tesla said in a statement that the bill will create thousands of jobs and bring millions of dollars in economic benefits to Nevada, according to a report from the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

A third bill, Senate Bill 392, would launch a statewide community solar program. All three pieces of legislation head to Gov. Brian Sandoval's office for his signature; the governor has specifically indicated his plans to sign the rooftop solar bill into law, the Review-Journal reported.

The Solar Energy Industry Association joined other renewable energy advocacy groups in applauding the series of bills.

"Nevada has been a clean energy leader since it adopted one of the first state Renewable Portfolio Standards 20 years ago. Since then, solar has soared as prices have made the technology broadly affordable to Nevada's businesses and families, and the jobs have followed," Sean Gallagher, SEIA's vice president of state affairs said in a statement. "Additionally, community solar programs make the many benefits of solar available to those who may not have had the option before. SB 392 would give everyone from renters to low-income families, to small businesses and others the ability to more easily access and afford solar energy."

Tags: Nevada
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