SolarCity and NRDC strike back in Nevada net metering row with ‘benefits of PV’ study

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email
The net benefits of rooftop solar PV and distributed energy resources (DER) have been tallied by US residential installer and utility and grid service operator newcomer SolarCity and the NRDC. Source: SolarCity

The net benefits of rooftop solar PV and distributed energy resources (DER) have been tallied by US residential installer and utility and grid services newcomer SolarCity and the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC) for a new report that claims they produce US$7-14 million in benefits annually for Nevadans.

The report – which presents an economic analysis of the benefit of harnessing DER – fortifies the ongoing argument for net-metering, as it utilises this methodology in particular to demonstrate the cost/benefit analysis of rooftop solar and DER in the state.

SolarCity and NRDC’s white paper, Distributed Energy Resources in Nevada, is the first peer-reviewed study to quantify all the rooftop solar cost and benefit variables identified by the PUC. The paper recommends policymakers and regulators develop advanced grid planning procedures that incorporate these benefits into the utility ratemaking process, which would enable Nevadans to see the benefits on their electricity bills and ensure that the state transitions to a cleaner, more affordable, and resilient grid. 

The study reports that net-metering could offer benefits to all utility customers of between 1.6 ¢ and 3.5¢/kWh for deployments during 2017-2019.

The goal of the report is to provide fill a void in the market for a complete accounting of the cost and benefits of rooftop solar under net-metering, for all stakeholders. The hope in future is that the cost/benefit analyses and associated regulatory processes should utilise all the benefit categories as outlined in the paper – so that the full benefits of net-metering might be seen.

The report can be viewed here.

Ongoing controversy in the state

Net-metering has been a highly controversial topic across the country, but has faced a prickly reception in Nevada in particular; after the state’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) voted unanimously to spike the rates and boost charges for consumers; tripling the fixed fee for solar customers and lowering the value of credits that could be earned by providing excess energy into the grid.

This unprecedented decision had far-reaching ramifications for the Nevada residential PV market, as major players in the sector, including SolarCity and Sunrun, responded by halting the sale and installation of rooftop modules and ceasing operations.  

The PUC argued however that the new rate structure was integral to ensuring that solar customers did not unfairly shift costs onto non-solar ratepayers. In fact, the PUC claimed that net-metering participants see subsidy that costs the industry hundreds of millions of dollars – contrary to a 2015 directive to reduce any “unreasonable shifting of costs” from net metering participants to other energy customers.

 In their ruling to assess the scheme, Nevadan utility commissioners outlined 11 possible variables to determine the value of excess energy through net-metering, including costs, grid capacity, social and environmental boons etc. However, when coming to the decision to effectively eradicate net-metering altogether, commissioners only assessed two out of the 11 variables when determining the value of excess energy produced through net-metering. 

Read Next

October 15, 2021
European renewables investment management firm Greencoat Capital has confirmed its entry to the US renewables market and is plotting to invest up to US$5 billion over the next five years.
October 8, 2021
The US needs to deploy a minimum of 103GW of distributed solar and 137GW of distributed energy storage by 2030 to achieve President Biden’s climate goals at the lowest cost, according to a new report by Local Solar for All.
PV Tech Premium
October 8, 2021
SunPower’s move to double down on its residential business forms part of a strategy that will see the company aim to lower supply chain costs, expand its geographical footprint and add to its product portfolio.
September 21, 2021
India added 521MW of rooftop solar in Q2 2021, an increase of 517% compared to the 85MW added in the same quarter last year despite a slight increase in costs, according to a Mercom India report.
PV Tech Premium
September 17, 2021
PV Tech spoke to investors and analysts about why Brazil is fast becoming an attractive market for solar investment.
PV Tech Premium
September 13, 2021
Following the release of the US Department’s Solar Futures Study, Liam Stoker assesses the downstream and upstream trends that must be realised for US solar to fulfil its potential.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
October 19, 2021
BRISTOL, UK
Upcoming Webinars
November 10, 2021
8am (PST) | 5pm (CET)
Solar Media Events
December 1, 2021