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Sandoval signs off on energy, education bills

Updated June 15, 2017 - 8:28 pm

CARSON CITY — Gov. Brian Sandoval on Thursday signed a bill into law that is expected to resurrect the rooftop solar industry in Nevada.

Sandoval signed Assembly Bill 405 at the Tesla Energy Warehouse in Las Vegas.

He also signed two other energy-related measures, Senate Bills 150 and 146, passed by the 2017 Legislature.

“Today, we solidify Nevada’s position as a national leader in clean and renewable energy,” he said at the signing ceremony. “Because of Nevada’s pro-renewable energy policies, more than $6 billion has been invested in our state. And I believe these three bills will help secure a green energy future for the Silver State.”

Later in the day he signed additional measures at a ceremony at UNLV. He also signed Senate Bill 555, providing $20 million for the Opportunity Scholarship program.

At UNLV, Sandoval signed Senate Bill 553 providing $25 million in state funding to the new medical school and planning money for a new engineering building at the university. The medical funding is being matched with a $25 million matching, anonymous donation.

He also signed Senate Bill 548, establishing the Nevada Institute on Teaching and Educator Preparation. The new program is being funded with yet another, $5 million anonymous donation to help produce high-quality teachers.

Electric car manufacturer Tesla has acquired SolarCity, a major rooftop solar company operating around the country. The company announced that it would return to doing solar business in Nevada as a result of the new net metering bill.

The Solar Energy Industries Association, representing the industry nationally, said the bill returns Nevada to the pro-growth solar policy it had before a 2015 regulatory decision all but froze the residential solar market.

“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,” said Sean Gallagher, SEIA’s vice president of state affairs, in a statement.

Net metering allows rooftop solar customers to receive a credit for the excess electricity their systems produce. The reimbursement rate for new customers will initially be 95 percent of the retail rate for a kilowatt of electricity.

Contact Sean Whaley at swhaley@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3820. Follow @seanw801 on Twitter.

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