Solar power and net metering in Nevada

On Wednesday, August 5, the Public Utility Commission (PUC) will be meeting. Agenda 15-07021 item 3C is a continuation of the long debate held in the Assembly and the State Senate. NV Energy is currently estimating that 235 MW cap on net metering “net energy metering rules (NEM1)” will reached on or about August 24, 2015. I have been reading the new net energy metering rules (NEM2) proposal put forth by NV Energy on July 31, 2015. During Legislative debate, NV Energy had stated that the 235 mw compromise would not be met before Spring 2016. Acting under the information presented by NV Energy the legislature directed NV Energy to make a proposal to the PUC for NEM2 and to ensure a smooth transition from NEM1 to NEM2. Without going into the specifics of NEM2, I believe that with NV Energy now stating that NEM1 will meet its allocation at least 6-months sooner than what they lead the legislatures to believe and that they cannot guarantee applications being turned in if they will be part of NEM1 or NEM2, this is not keeping with the intent or application of SB374. As Senator Patricia Farley stated, it is important to not “disrupt the net metering market in Nevada during the transition period.”

SB374 Section 2.8 states that one of the purposes of enacting this legislation is to “encourage private investment in renewable energy resources”. Since consumers in the state of Nevada who file applications for net metering right now do not know if they will be approved under NEM1 or NEM2, nor has NEM2 been approved by the PUC, this transition period is causing unnecessary confusion which will prevent another purpose of the law as defined in Section 2.8, naming it will not “Stimulate the economic growth of this State” in the fast growing solar energy sector and its 6,000 employees.

I believe that the PUC should require NV Energy to continue accepting and approving under NEM1 until December 31, 2015. That will provide clarity and avoid confusion. During the next few months, the PUC, NV Energy, representatives of the Nevada solar industry, and other parties can work together on adopting, changing, or rewriting NEM2 as necessary to best serve the various stakeholders in Nevada and the new NEM2 rules will apply for all applications received after January 1, 2016.