In Nevada, Solar Net Metering ‘Benefits’ Non-Solar Ratepayers

July 11, 2014 By Linda Hardesty

solar energy manageThe State of Nevada Public Utilities Commission published a report “Nevada Net Energy Metering Impacts Evaluation,” which finds that as of 2014 net energy metering does not cost non-solar ratepayers anything.

In Nevada, a ratepayer can self-generate electricity, reducing purchases from the utility, and sell excess electricity back to the utility at retail rates. Customers with solar photovoltaic, solar thermal electric, wind, biomass, geothermal electric, or hydroelectric distributed generation installations are eligible for Nevada’s net energy metering (NEM) tariff.

As of December 2013, over 3,300 individual systems were enrolled in NV Energy’s NEM program, totaling over 60 MW of installed capacity, with 50 MW coming from distributed PV. These systems produce about 93 GWh of energy annually. Forecasts of new installations from 2014 to 2016 provided by NV Energy anticipate significant growth (234 MW) in new NEM capacity through 2016.

In answer to the question: “Does renewable self-generation impact other NV Energy ratepayers?” the report found:

“Prior to 2014, there was a significant cost shift from NEM customers to non-participating customers, primarily because the funding of the RenewableGenerations incentive was relatively large and impacted the bills of all customers. In 2014 and 2015, we anticipate a benefit to non-participants because a) the utility incentive is relatively low, and b) the RPS policy places a large value on distributed solar generation installed during this time period.”

Net-metering has caused conflict in several states where utilities claim non-solar customers are footing more than their fair share of the bill, in effect subsidizing solar net-metering customers.


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