NV Energy files to grandfather solar customers in advance of court hearing

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email
NV Energy criticizes rooftop solar companies' priorities as it files to grandfather 32,000 solar customers for 20 years. Source: NV Energy

Nevada’s largest utility, NV Energy, made a filing yesterday with the Nevada Public Utilities Commission to return existing rooftop solar consumers to the previous, more favourable rates for the next 20 years.

The filing comes just a couple of weeks after governor Sandoval’s New Energy Industry Task Force put forward a recommendation to grandfather existing rooftop solar customers into the state’s previous regulation for 25 years.

Instead, NV Energy’s filing requests that customers who had installed a private system prior to 31 December 2015 remain on previously approved net metering rates for 20 years. In addition, customers who had an active and approved application to interconnect a system pending on 31 December 2015 are also to be grandfathered. Altogether, the request would affect about 32,000 solar customers. NV Energy has asked the PUC to act on the request within 90 days.

NV Energy urged regulators to approve the filing “in order to end the current controversy and eliminate the uncertainty that surrounds so many of NV Energy’s private solar customers today.”

The filing also comes just a few days before the Nevada Supreme Court is to hear arguments concerning Bring Back Solar’s ballot referendum – which seeks to reverse the PUC’s new net metering rates for all customers – is eligible for the November general election ballot.

“After a number of recent failed attempts to negotiate a resolution of this grandfathering issue with out-of-state private solar suppliers, it became clear that NV Energy needed to step up and act alone,” said Paul Caudill, president and CEO of NV Energy. “I have spoken with many of these net metering customers personally, and understand and empathize with their concern. We simply did not want to wait any longer to offer a solution on their behalf and believe our filing today represents the most efficient and timely way to do that.”

Although the original recommendation by New Energy Task Force was supported by many rooftop solar stakeholders, including SolarCity, NV Energy did not feel that such parties had the customers’ best interests at heart.

“Unfortunately, it appears that these out-of-state solar suppliers are more concerned with increasing the subsidies needed to run their businesses than taking care of their approximately 32,000 contracted customers, who are our customers too,” said Kevin Geraghty, NV Energy’s senior vice president of energy supply. “It seems that they created uncertainty for customers who purchased or leased a rooftop system by not clearly communicating that their rates were subject to change in future regulatory proceedings. Many of these net metering customers entered into 20-year leases believing that they would be locked into a rate, and that they would save money because NV Energy rates would increase every year. Neither of these sales pitches are true.”

The utility’s filing doesn’t go as far as the grandfathering measure recommended and supported by the likes of SolarCity, but NV feels its recommendation creates equilibrium for all customers.

“We feel strongly that this grandfathering proposal is the most effective way to implement the recommendation previously made by NV Energy and that of the New Energy Industry Task Force,” said Caudill. “The proposal is simple and fair.”

This is an interesting development for the utility, who in the past has argued that under the previous rate structure, solar users were having their power ‘subsidised’ by non-solar users, by shifting the burden of those costs. In rebuttle, studies have been released that argue that the benefits of rooftop solar outweigh the costs for all utility ratepayers. The debate continues on how this should be translated in regulatory terms. 

Read Next

January 24, 2022
More than 260 companies in the US clean energy sector are demanding urgent action on the US$1.75 trillion Build Back Better (BBB) Act, claiming that US$2 billion is being lost in economic activity every month the long-awaited bill is delayed.
January 24, 2022
The average cost of forecasting errors in the US is lower than previously thought at less than US$1/MWh, according to a study by Berkeley Lab that employed a new, publicly available method to examine the practice.
January 24, 2022
The year has gotten off to a frenetic start, with plenty of news from the global solar and energy storage sectors to digest on the January 2022 episode of the Solar Media Podcast.
January 21, 2022
Toronto-based renewables developer Amp Energy has closed on a US$350 million credit facility to advance on a global portfolio of renewables and battery energy storage assets.
January 20, 2022
Mississippi authorities have expanded the state’s net metering programme to improve total compensation rates for solar customers and prioritise the adoption of distributed PV for low- to moderate-income (LMI) households.
PV Tech Premium
January 18, 2022
Solar project developer Eco Energy World is aiming to “aggressively” grow its US PV pipeline after formally entering the market last week and intends to replicate the cheaper engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) costs it sees in Europe in the country. PV Tech Premium speaks to CEO Svante Kumlin to find out more.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
January 26, 2022
Free Webinar
Solar Media Events
February 23, 2022
London, UK
Solar Media Events
March 8, 2022
London, UK
Solar Media Events
March 23, 2022
Austin, Texas, USA
Solar Media Events
March 29, 2022
Lisbon, Portugal