Today the Bring Back Solar Alliance’s efforts to let Nevada voters choose whether or not to overturn the dismantling of net metering in the state was blocked by the state’s highest court.
The Nevada Supreme Court has ruled that the description of the referendum, which gained over 115,000 signatures, was misleading. This invalidates those signatures and removes the possibility that the referendum can appear on the November ballot.
A lower court had also ruled against the ballot referendum in May, stating that the proposal as worded was not eligible to be a ballot referendum, as it selectively removed sections of state law but not a full law.
After an appeal filed by a political action committee associated with the Bring Back Solar Alliance, the Supreme Court declined to hear whether or not the measure was eligible to be a referendum, deciding to disqualify it on the grounds of its wording to voters.
Bring Back Solar Alliance, which comprises over two dozen solar installers, and organizations including faith-based groups, says that it will now take the issue to the state legislature.
“While we’re disappointed that the Court ruled in such a way that the people of Nevada will not be able to vote on this issue, it clarifies the role Nevada’s leadership must play in representing the majority of Nevadans who want to bring solar back to Nevada,” stated Bring Back Solar Alliance Campaign Manager Erin McCann.
The dismantling of Nevada’s net metering policy last December by state regulators was the most severe such policy change to date to be enacted by any U.S. state, and included retroactive changes for customers who had qualified under the previous net metering rules.
As such it has incited fierce resistance at the local level and national criticism, including from Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton. There is also an open lawsuit against the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada by Vote Solar Initiative and The Alliance for Solar Choice.
One option open for the Bring Back Solar Alliance is to go back and gather signatures again for a ballot initiative, which would go to the legislature. If the organization can gather another 55,000 signatures, it can force legislators to act on the proposal within 40 days, and if they do not the matter will go to Nevada voters.
Bring Back Solar Alliance says that it is not currently planning to do so, but that “All options are on the table”.
Another front over the battle in net metering in Nevada is the rate case for Sierra Pacific, the utility under which NV Energy operates in Northern Nevada, which is currently underway.