Looking to go solar? Find an alternative through Southwest Gas

“Go solar”… “Save money and energy”… “Help preserve the environment.” Sound familiar? It should, especially if you’re one of the more than 17,000 Nevadans who got suckered into believing those and other positive catchphrases when you either bought or leased the solar energy panels sitting on your roof.

Now don’t get me wrong about clean, renewable solar energy. It’s great stuff — inexpensive, void of fossil fuels, and potentially plentiful in Nevada, where the sun shines more than 300 days a year. There’s only one problem, and the sun that provides all this clean energy is not the problem, nor are the companies that were welcomed by the state to sell or lease the solar energy panels.

You’ve read enough about how Nevadans were duped by political and special interests into believing there were no gimmicks attached to promises to spread sun-produced energy on a grand scale, promises that ultimately went awry.

But this column is not intended to swirl into those reasons. They’ve been hashed and rehashed for months. The purpose here, instead, is to tell you about a solar system that has been around for the last five years, a system provided by Southwest Gas that allows you to heat your water cleanly and inexpensively, a system that’s ideally suited for a predominantly residential community such as Summerlin.

It’s the offspring of several bills that were enacted by the Legislature in 2011. In fact, Nevada was in the forefront in enacting such legislation at the time, as nine other states also adopted similar kinds of systems that year.

Now, to put your mind at ease, the legislation was not something like SB-374. That’s the “pass-the-buck” bill adopted in last year’s legislative session, the bill that sent net metering to the Public Utilities Commission, so that our elected officials would not have to establish a law by dealing with the solar energy issue head-on.

The solar water system is both economical and sensible. According to Southwest Gas literature, “by replacing your old water heater with a solar water heater you can cut the cost of heating water in half … All it takes is a solar collector and a storage tank, and you can literally soak up the sun.”

The principle is fairly simple, as Southwest Gas literature goes on to explain: “Solar collectors outside (rooftop panels) capture sunlight, heating liquid inside the collector. Heat from the liquid is transferred into hot water. The heated water is stored in an insulated tank until you need it.”

In addition, Southwest Gas is offering rebates of as much as 30 percent for private residential and small business customers who qualify for installing the system, with natural gas serving as a back-up.

Celine Apo, manager of the solar water heating program at Southwest Gas, explained that the cost of installing the system “varies, based on a number of conditions, including the size of the water heating system.” However, she added that while installation of a solar system could generally cost more than a conventional system, “it will more than pay for itself over time through energy savings.” Apo also noted that only eligible, licensed contractors are qualified to install the system.

She said homes that already have rooftop panels that produce solar energy would still require the water heating panels. “It’s an entirely separate system, and the solar water panels, which take up little space on the roof, won’t interfere with the solar energy panels. In fact, depending on size, you would normally need only one or two panels.”

But what about the potential for bureaucratic interference? Can the PUC step in and throw a blockade once you install such a system?

For one thing, as Apo stated, “solar water heating is a law. The 2011 Legislature spelled it out in the form of legislation that has become law. They then sent it to the commission to develop the regulations that tell us how to do the program. Of course, we are always at the mercy of the commission. They develop the rules for such programs, and we implement them.”

Southwest Gas is a utility and is thus bound to adhere to PUC regulations. But at least the solar water program continues to thrive after five years.

Herb Jaffe was an op-ed columnist and investigative reporter for most of his 39 years at the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J. His most recent novel, “Double Play,” is now available. Contact him at hjaffe@cox.net.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
Grandparents on the fire that killed three family members
Charles and Doris Smith talk about the night an apartment fire took the lives of three of their family members. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
New York artist Bobby Jacobs donated a sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden
Bobby Jacobs, an artist from upstate New York, has spent much of the past year creating a sculpture of two separate angel wings. He donated the sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Weather will cool slightly through the end of the week
The weather will cool slightly through the end of the week., but highs are still expected to be slightly above normal for this year. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mayor announces new public-private partnership
Mayor Carolyn Goodman announced the creation of the Mayor’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE, a public-private partnership that will allocate money to the city’s neediest.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Fall fairytale gets cozy at Bellagio Conservatory
Bellagio Conservatory introduces its fall-themed garden titled "Falling Asleep." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
What the house that Ted Binion died in looks like today
Casino heir Ted Binion died in this Las Vegas home in 1998. Current home owner Jane Popple spent over $600,000 to restore and modernize the home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Rescue Mission employees terminated
Don James, a former employee for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, talks about the day his team was terminated. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Cupcakes at Freed's Bakery
Freed's Bakery will have Raiders-themed cupcakes available in store and for order during football season. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s fans say goodbye to Cashman Field
Las Vegas 51s fans said goodbye to Cashman Field in Las Vegas, Monday September, 3, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s owner Don Logan's last weekend at Cashman Field
Don Logan, owner of the Las Vegas 51s, gives a tour of Cashman Field before the team's final weekend using the field. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Metro Asst. Sheriff Brett Zimmerman on Aug. 8 officer-involved shooting
Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman met with media Monday to discuss the details of the 14th officer-involved shooting of the year. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program where community and business leaders joined to welcome students back with an inspirational welcome. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Star Trek fans on show’s enduring popularity
Star Trek fans at the Star Trek Convention 2018 talk about why they think the show has stayed popular across the years Thursday, August 2, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nonprofit provides clothing for homeless
Sydney Grover of Can You Spare A Story?, talks about how she founded the non-profit organization. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Family remembers deceased mother
Family members of Adriann Gallegos remember her. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Camp Broadway teaches kids how to sing and dance
The Smith Center's seventh annual Camp Broadway musical theater program gives 150 kids ages 6-17 an opportunity to learn musical theater skills from industry professionals over a five-day period. Marcus Villagran/ Las Vegas Review-Journal @brokejournalist
Restoring classic Corvettes to perfection
Members of the National Corvette Restorers Society Convention talk about what it takes to earn the NCRS Top Flight Award for a restored Corvette at South Point in Las Vegas on Tuesday July 17, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Watch Ruthless! at Las Vegas Little Theatre
The musical Ruthless! will be playing at Las Vegas Little Theatre from July 13-29. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Cadaver art and sword swallowing at The Dark Arts Market
Curator Erin Emrie talks about her inspiration for The Dark Arts Market at Cornish Pasty Co. in Las Vegas Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
'NO H8' Campaign comes to Las Vegas
Hundreds of locals participate in the NO H8 campaign founded by Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley as a response to Proposition 8, a California ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign has since evolved to represent equal treatment for all. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Star Wars and Golden Knights mashup at downtown art shop
Star Wars and Vegas Golden Knights fans attend the Boba Fett Golden Knight Paint Class at The Bubblegum Gallery in Las Vegas, Friday, June 29, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Tourists and locals enjoy Independence Day fireworks at Caesars Palace
Hundreds of tourists and locals gaze at the Independence Day fireworks show at Caesars Palace on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Herb Jaffe Video
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like