The Nevada Public Utilities Commission has approved a deal that will restore older, more favorable rates to about 32,000 customers who installed or applied for a rooftop solar system before this year.
The commission's vote Friday seals a settlement between NV Energy, SolarCity, the state Bureau of Consumer Protection and the commission's staff.
Customers who signed up before a rate hike took effect this year will be "grandfathered" into lower rates for the next 20 years effective in December.
"It's huge, it's huge because we were concerned about it," Robert Lucero said.
Lucero, who invested in solar just 3 months before the PUC raised his rates, needed the savings to keep his system running.
"On a fixed income you have to try to save whatever you can," he said.
Commissioners raised rates for rooftop solar customers this year, saying it corrected a subsidy that non-solar customers were paying for those who had panels.
Solar companies that wanted to reverse the ruling failed to get a repeal measure on November's statewide ballot, and have since settled on the regulatory solution.
While customers will see more money in their pockets, so will a once dark solar business. Over at SunPower, sales representativess are now getting in contact with the hundreds of people who had either stalled or canceled their requests.
The following is a statement from Paul Caudill, NV Energy President and CEO:
“The grandfathering tariff NV Energy filed in July 2016 was the most efficient and timely way to implement Governor Sandoval’s New Energy Industry Taskforce recommendation to grandfather the existing net metering customers in question. The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada’s decision today is fair for this set of existing net metering customers, and at the same time reinforces the clear path forward they established in February 2016 for those considering rooftop solar in the future. I sincerely appreciate the efforts of the Commission regulatory operations staff, the consumer advocate, and SolarCity for joining NV Energy in this settlement agreement, which expedites the process on behalf of our customers.”
A statement from Erin McCann, campaign manager of Bring Back Solar:"We applaud the Public Utilities Commission for their leadership in voting unanimously today to grandfather Nevada's 32,000 solar customers. This is a tremendous victory not only for the solar customers whose investments will be protected,
but also for the tens of thousands of Nevada solar supporters who have advocated tirelessly for solar since last year's rate hike.
"Now, it is vital torestore all Nevadans' ability to go solar affordably in the future. We look forward to working with legislators, the Public Utilities Commission, and other stakeholders to restore all Nevadans' freedom to choose affordable solar energy."