Solar Rebates Shine On in Nevada

By Matt Turville, HelioPower Solar Consultant in Nevada

The Nevada Solar Rebates are coming back! The Nevada Public Utilities Commission approved new

regulations for the solar, wind, and hydro power incentive programs at the end of January 2010. On February 1, 2010, NV Energy submitted its Annual Plans for the three programs that described the implementation of the program per the new regulations. The Commission is deliberating the Annual Plans and has until July 1, 2010 to approve them. During this process, there could be adjustments to the Plans.

Here are a few preliminary highlights of the New SolarGenerations Guidelines for Nevada per VoteSolar.org:

Rebate Levels: Residential rebates will begin at $2.30 per watt in step 1, declining by $0.20 cents per step. Schools and Public Buildings start at $5.00 per watt in step 1, declining by $0.10 per step. *These levels are at the same level as 2008 for residential and commercial installations.  With the declining costs of Photovoltaics in late 2008 and 2009 customer who install in 2010 will enjoy more accelerated returns on their solar investments: Lower cost solar + high rebates = faster ROI.  These high rebate levels are more than twice the level of rebates that are being paid in California!

Awarding of Rebates in Step 1-3: Beginning in 2010, Steps 1 through 3 can be reserved on a first-come, first-serve basis until the capacity limits are reached.  However, the rebates for steps 2 and 3 will not be paid out to customers until 2011 and 2012 respectively.  NV Energy will be required to issue a confirmed rebate notice, which companies should be able to use to secure capitol to complete projects.

Start Date of Revamped Program: The step 1 start date was left to the discretion of NV Energy in their annual plan. However NV Energy stated in the public record that they plan to release rebates tentatively on March.

System Size Limits: NV Energy shall be able to determine individual system size limits in the annual plan.  However at the workshop we came to a verbal agreement with the utility that residential customers could receive rebate for up to 10 kilowatt (kW) systems, while public agencies could receive a rebate for up to a 100 kW system.  Systems on school will remain at 50 kW with the ability of a school district to petition for an exemption to rebate up to 100 kW.  Small commercial projects will be capped at 30 kW as to not eat up the entire combined residential/small commercial category capacity limit.

Revamped Website: NV Energy is required to keep an updated website to indicate total kWs available in each step and each category, including kWs newly available due to reallocations.  This information should be real-time, at the least updated weekly. (We need to make sure that this accurately reflects unspent previous allocation when the website is published!)

Signed Contract: To apply for a rebate a customer must have signed a contract with a solar installer.

Completion Timeline: All categories of projects need be completed within 12 months. However schools and public building will be given an initial 90 day period to submit a “checklist” approved by the Commission documenting progress towards project completion.

This is all very good news for anyone who is planning for solar in Nevada.  As a result of these large

rebates and pent up demand we are expecting a big rush  of applications at the end of March in order to secure the highest level rebates available.  If you are thinking about going solar or if you have already made the decision HelioPower is standing at the ready to offer free solar pre-sites, evaluations and estimates for your home or business.  With ten years of solar installation experience and over 1,000 installations to date HelioPower is your best option for a licensed, quality engineered solar power solution that will eliminate or lower your electricity costs while improving the value of your home and business and contributing to a cleaner environment for all.

Please visit our installation galleries online at www.HelioPower.com to see a sampling of our professionally installed systems or call or email your local Nevada Solar Energy Consultant: Matt Turville at (775) 297-5579, email:  [email protected] with any questions or if you would like to schedule a free pre-site and energy analysis for your home or business.