22 Oct Know Your Solar: Net Metering in Nevada
There’s hardly a day in Nevada when it’s not sunny. As a result, solar power seems like a no brainer when it comes to researching clean energy possibilities in Nevada. Residential solar power can be found on 618,000 homes which means 12.71% of the electricity produced in Nevada is solar. With that many residents indulging in the solar industry, net metering in Nevada is a hot topic to discuss in an ever-growing clean energy world.
How Does Net Metering in Nevada Work?
If residents of Nevada have a renewable energy system in Nevada, they are able to participate in net metering. Solar net metering is a program in which the energy you don’t use from your solar power is given back to the electrical grid, in turn earning you money. When your solar is not collecting at night or in cloudy weather, a customer can borrow from the grid. Their excess energy previously generated will help pay for their currently needed energy. In Nevada, most grids are connected to NV Energy.
Where and how much?
Both Northern and Southern Nevada based NV Energy customers are eligible for net metering. Both areas have their own net metering rates schedule and the current rate in Nevada is 81% of the retail rate. Billing instructions for northern and southern Nevada vary so be sure to check out both depending on where you live.
NV Energy allows eligible customers to modify their net metering. Customers can choose to be paid for their ‘excess’ power for every half kilowatt every hour (kWh) that they send to the grid. This credit is worth slightly less than what the customer would pay for buying electricity from the grid. For a period of 20 years, the customer will pay the rate they initially got once they started. Thus if a customer started right now they would get the current rate of 81%.
However, as more people buy into net metering the retail rate will go down and once it reaches 75 percent it will be fixed at 75 percent.
Net metering isn’t the only way solar companies can help you gain money with your clean energy! NV Energy offers installation subsidies for solar electricity, heating and for hydropower. NV Energy offers a variety of incentives to switch to renewable energy. There is also a federal solar tax credit that allows you to deduct 30% of the cost to install solar from your federal taxes.
The History of Nevada Net Metering
Nevada began net metering in 1997. Before 2016 metering had a cap of 235 megawatts. In 2015 the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) of Nevada passed new rules and laws that reduced the value of net metering credits; people were a bit outraged. At the time net metering helped them pay back the cost of installing their solar power systems.
After about a year and a half, in June 2017 the Nevada state legislature approved new policies that reinstated net metering but had a more clear-cut plan for the value over time. After June 2017, 95 percent of the retail rate was the value of electricity. As more customers install solar the rate will go down until it reaches the minimum rate of 75 percent. Now NV Energy does not have a megawatt cap for customers using net metering.
Key Points in Nevada’s Current Net Metering Policies
- New solar energy-producing customers can give feed excess energy back into the system as (currently*) 81 percent of the retail rate.
- Every 80 megawatts of solar capacity used, this retail rate drops by 7 percent
- The minimum retail rate is 75 percent. Once it hits 75 percent it can go no lower
- All customers, solar-powered and non-solar powered alike are charged the same upkeep and maintenance fees to keep the grid up-to-date and working
- There are incentives for people who buy their own solar storage
Nevada is not the only state that limits the retail rate for solar energy. Both Hawaii and Lousianna do as well.
Why scale the retail rate?
In Wyoming recently net metering started to become an issue for residents not using solar energy. Gillette News Record says, “by generating their own electricity, net-metering customers typically consume fewer utility-generated electrons and have lower energy charges. In this way, they avoid paying some of the fixed costs built into the energy charge.” The fixed cost of upkeep and maintenance fall on the shoulders of the non-solar using people who pay money to the utility company for their energy.
Net metering with a scalable retail rate helps with these hidden costs associated with the upkeep of an electrical system. However, without the help of net metering, it’s almost impossible to afford the clean energy we should be striving for. Solar customers should be vigilant and keep up on solar laws in order to ensure they get the best results from their solar energy.
The Best Solar in Nevada!
Get the best from the southern Nevada sun by getting solar panels from Sol-Up! Sol-Up is the most trusted residential solar panels in Las Vegas and they want to make sure you get the value while saving you and the environment. Contact our staff today if you have questions about net metering and we can assist you in your choice to go clean with your energy!