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No ‘solar wars’ for Nevada, top official says

CARSON CITY — The goal is certainty for Nevada power consumers, not “solar wars.”

That’s what Joseph Reynolds, chairman of the Nevada Public Utilities Commission told lawyers for NV Energy and solar companies Thursday before three days of hearings next week.

Reynolds’ message was simple: There will be no “solar wars.”

“The war’s over,” he told the group.

The hearings that begin Monday will review NV Energy’s filing for a proposed rate structure because of a new state law intended to boost the growth of net metering in Nevada.

“Regulatory uncertainty is bad for business,” Reynolds said, noting that solar companies are looking at coming to Nevada because of the new law. The more clarity there is, he said, “it will be better for everyone.”

The solar industry is concerned that NV Energy’s filing unfairly raises the fixed monthly charge in electric bills while lowering the rate charged based on usage, which impacts low-volume users. NV Energy in its filing said the rate structure proposed falls in line with the law’s requirement to provide a uniform rate class.

The rate must be approved by Sept. 1.

In net metering, people with rooftop systems get a credit for excess energy they return to the grid. The net metering changes will provide homeowners who invest in rooftop solar a credit of 95 percent of the retail rate, or what the customer would have been charged by the utility for each kilowatt hour of excess electricity generated by the rooftop system.

Contact Ben Botkin at bbotkin@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-0661. Follow @BenBotkin1 on Twitter.

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