Are you thinking about going solar this year? Nevada’s sunny climate has made it a leading solar energy producer, and its regulatory system is finally catching up. 2020 brings new changes to Nevada’s solar laws that you could take advantage of for your own installation. Take a look at current and upcoming laws regarding solar panel installations to maximize your benefits in 2020.
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Nevada Solar Power Laws in 2020
If you’re installing solar panels in your home, check to see if you can benefit from any of the following laws.
After much contention, AB 405 ensured that Nevadans had a right to access renewable energy, and also had the right to obtain easements to obtain solar energy in the event that they faced obstructions. Prior to the passage of this bill, homeowners associations (HOAs) had the ability to restrict the ability of homeowners to install solar panels. The passage of this bill prevented HOAs from barring the installation of solar panels, and even allowed homeowners to request that neighbors remove obstructions to the installation of solar panels.
Crucially, this bill also restored net metering, which was briefly discontinued in 2015, allowing homeowners to sell the electricity produced by their rooftop solar arrays to Nevada Power. The new system is a compromise, where the amount that homeowners are paid for their solar power declines with wider adoption. Under the current program, every 80 megawatt increase of rooftop solar production would cause a 7% drop in the price Nevada Power pays to consumers. Currently, the utility pays 95% of the market rate for rooftop solar electricity, with this number eventually set to decline to 75%.
This bill created the Nevada Clean Energy Fund, which is a nonprofit corporation designed to help residential and commercial solar projects obtain financing. The fund functions as a “Green bank,” which has successfully served as an intermediary between traditional financial institutions and renewable projects in other states that have created them. The NCEF remains under development, but can begin providing assistance to homeowners as it continues to grow.
Rooftop solar is becoming more ubiquitous throughout Nevada, and SB 146 was written as a way to acknowledge that isn’t going to change anytime soon. This bill requires that state utilities take into account projects such as rooftop solar when determining future energy production. While this doesn’t yield direct benefits to homeowners, it further institutionalizes rooftop solar in Nevada and makes it a formal part of energy planning at the state level.
AB 465 expands access to rooftop solar to communities that haven’t been able to access solar energy, often due to a lack of resources. The bill requires utilities to open access to renewable programs to low-income Nevada residents. The bill creates community programs in which at least 25% of participants must be low income, expanding access to solar beyond those who can afford a traditional rooftop array. This can be an option for low income residents to tap into renewables.
Solar panels are attractive for homeowners that are thinking long-term and who aren’t planning to move within the next several years. As such, they’re not suited for everybody, but current incentives make them a better option for more people than ever before. Consult with an expert solar installer before making any decisions to get the maximum out of your investment. Working with a team of experts can give you the information you need to make the best choices for your home.