Nevada’s Sandoval Signs Solar Bill of Rights Into Law, Reopens Rooftop Solar Industry

As anticipated and hoped for Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) signed into law the state’s Solar Bill of Rights (AB 405). The bill reopens net-metering in the state and gives homeowners assurances that rates won’t change while protecting them from shady solar sales tactics, among other things.

Nevada, one of the sunniest states, had a thriving solar industry until the state’s utility commission controversially halted net-metering over night. Net-metering, which credits solar-powered homeowners for the power their solar system produces, was an important incentive for consumers in choosing to go solar.

Nevada signs Solar Bill of Rights into law. Courtesy Vote Solar

By selling back power that homeowners can’t use to their utility at a fair rate, the homeowners are able to more quickly recoup any of the payments they made for the solar array and save more money in the long term. In ending the policy overnight for existing and future consumers, it disincentivized solar energy and essentially ended the state’s rooftop solar industry and cost the state roughly 2,600 jobs.

“Governor Sandoval deserves credit for his leadership on solar. History will show that today Nevada took an important step that will return it to its rightful spot as a top solar state,” said Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) Sean Gallagher, vice president of state affairs. “This law will give homeowners and businesses who may have wanted to go solar the assurances they sought, and we expect strong solar growth and jobs to follow. We applaud Assemblymen Watkins, Brooks, Yeager, and Fugo and Senators Ford, Atkinson, Manendo, and Spearman for their efforts to prepare and pass this bill out of the Legislature.”

Even prior to signing the legislation into law major rooftop solar installers signaled that they would reenter the market. That includes Sunrun, SolarCity and Vivint Solar.

“We thank Governor Sandoval for closing the final chapter of a seventeen-month saga to bring solar rights back to Nevada,” said Jessica Scott, Interior West Director of Vote Solar. “Thanks to the tireless leadership of community organizers, clean energy advocates, solar customers and state lawmakers, Nevadan families and workers once again have the right to power their own homes and businesses with solar and be fairly credited for the excess clean energy they send to grid.”

The new law is among 11 clean energy that Nevada approved this session. Other bills would increase Nevada’s renewable energy requirements to 40 percent by 2030. Another bill would establish a statewide community solar program, which will make it easier for renters and low-income families to reap the benefits of solar power. The legislators also passed bills establishing an energy storage program, increased energy efficiency investment and a new clean energy financing program, according to Vote Solar.

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