Only two years ago, Nevada was an example of the worst-case scenario for rooftop solar markets. Regulators abruptly dismantled the state’s net metering policy at the end of 2015, and with no reasonable level of compensation installation activity stopped, workers were laid off and large national companies left the market.
However, after the passage of AB 405, which reinstated near-retail net metering in June 2017, NV Energy’s SolarGeneration program saw a 32x monthly increase in applications.
This week we have received another indication of the progress in Nevada. Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) reported yesterday that the first 80 MW tier of the state’s net metering program is now fully subscribed, with 37 MW of solar installed and another 43 MW applied for.
Those home and business owners who applied under Tier 1 will receive credit for the electricity that their PV systems generate at 95% of the current retail rate for a period of 20 years. Those who missed the cutoff over the weekend will go into the second tier, under which the electricity generated by their PV systems will be compensated at 88% of the retail rate.
There are a total of four tiers in the program, with the final tier ending at 75% of the retail rate. While this is a 25% haircut, such numbers may still pencil for many consumers, given that Nevada has very high solar radiation and residential electricity prices only slightly below the national average.
Furthermore, 75% of retail is a better deal than customers will get in Maine or Michigan, where net metering has been replaced with far lower compensation, or in parts of South Carolina, which has hit net metering caps and where Duke is offering wholesale rate compensation. It is also likely more than similar customers in Connecticut will receive, although many details have not yet been resolved regarding the successor program to net metering in that state.