Though we’ve known for a long while that solar power construction has picked up in Nevada as a result of the reimplementation of net metering last summer, a recent infographic released by Vote Solar really put into perspective what it looks like when net metering hits and companies like Sunnova, along with Tesla, SunRun and Vivint return to a market.
The Vote Solar infographic:
The State of Nevada became the center of the national conflict over the policy, with the mainstream media seeing a battle between Elon Musk and Warren Buffett pushing distributed versus utility scale solar power as the proper solution. If you follow this line of reasoning, in December of 2015, Buffett won and residential solar power collapsed – both third-party and privately owned.
This led to a prolonged political and legal conflict, with ballot initiatives, lawsuits and a variety of other measures employed to re-open the market. It took nine months for the solar industry’s first victory, with existing customers grandfathered under the old rules in September 2016.
In the interim, Nevada’s distributed solar market collapsed.
However, the tide began to turn with the removal of regulators who oversaw the decision, and in mid-2017 solar one its final victory with the signing of AB 405. The law re-established net metering for PV systems 25 kW and smaller, with surplus electricity generation credited at 95% of the full retail rate until the installed net metering capacity reaches 80 MW. After that it will fall to 88% of retail rate for the next 80 MW, and then fall to 81% and 75% with each additional 80 MW deployed.
The importance of residential net metering to installation rate of solar power in the market cannot be underestimated. It is true that Buffett’s arguments that the cheapest solar electricity comes from utility scale installations, however, the broader economic benefits that come from residential solar power are the truer political driver of the most democratic form of electricity generation.
With the State of California seemingly ready to institute a law requiring solar power on every single home, expect this revolution to continue to grow.
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