Nevada State Assembly Passes Revised Solar Bill
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Sunworks, Inc., a leading provider of solar power solutions for agriculture, commercial, industrial (ACI), and residential markets, praised the passage of Nevada Assembly Bill 405 (AB405) by the state assembly. The State Assembly passed the bill by a vote of 38-2. AB405 will now be under consideration by the State Senate which has 13 days remaining in the 2017 legislative session.
The new AB405 includes a “Solar Bill of Rights” provision, which reinstates net metering with a new system that uses a tiered approach for calculating the export rate of electricity based on the overall penetration of rooftop solar installations throughout the state. The bill restores net metering rates starting at 95% of the full retail rate for excess electricity produced by consumers.
The inclusion of a net metering solution is considered a victory for rooftop solar businesses which have experienced economic uncertainty for the last two years due to a combination of policy changes and reductions in net metering rates by the Public Utilities Commission. The changes, which took effect in 2015, virtually ended net metering programs in Nevada and resulted in heavy job losses for those in the solar industry. With the passage of the modified AB405, rooftop owners will return to the existing rate classes of all other consumers, thereby protecting them from discriminatory rates, charges, and fees.
AB405 protects consumers from inaccurate public utility rates, minimum warranty requirements, and other contractual disclosure terms. The bill is intended to enhance consumers’ understanding of variables in their investment options and make clearer comparisons between products.
Sunworks noted that it is already in compliance with all of the legislation’s terms for consumer protection and transparency in Nevada. In addition, Sunworks is currently restructuring its proposal process to reflect the modified net metering structure.
Sunworks Regional Vice President of Sales, Casey Coffman, said, “We’re pleased with the passage of the revised bill. We believe the bill provides greater transparency for consumers and businesses and will enhance Nevada’s solar industry through a sensible rate structure and will lead to accelerated growth in solar-related jobs.”
Travis Miller, Director of The Great Basin Solar Coalition, is part of an alliance of stakeholders from Northern Nevada who represent the state’s solar industry. Mr. Miller said “Consumers are now effectively grandfathered into the rate structure they originally enrolled into for the life of their system. In conjunction with ensuring consumer disclosures, this bill creates the stability required for Nevadans to make educated investments in clean energy solutions.”