(Forbes) Nevada was once known as the darling of the solar industry, and over the years the state fostered pro-growth approaches for clean energy efforts. All of that has changed along with the ongoing struggle between the State’s regulator, and both the utility and solar industries. The case in Nevada clearly illustrates the need for regulatory certainty in the field of public policy.
More on this issue in a moment, but first it’s important to note that last year the global solar industry prospered. According to data released by Greentech Media (GTM) Research the industry experienced a 34 percent increase in Photovoltaic (PV) systems installation and 59 gigawatts of new capacity coming online within just one year. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), 40 percent of all new electric generating capacity in 2015 in America was supplied by the solar industry, while another 20,000 megawatts of additional solar capacity is expected to infiltrate the grid within the next two years.
As solar energy and other forms of clean energy increase in use and popularity, policy makers must ensure public policy and regulatory structures are already in place to successfully deal with constant changes in the energy landscape.
The Solar Foundation ranked Nevada number one in solar jobs per capita in the United States last year as it became home to more than 100 solar companies, six manufacturers, and total investments rounding out at about half a billion dollars. Driven largely by the Obama administration’s Investment Tax Credit ( ITC ), which drove industry costs down almost 75 percent, Nevada has seen massive investment, not counting almost 17,000 buildings installing new rooftop solar panels.
As a part of the shift in Nevada’s energy landscape, the state began to incentivize its energy consumers through a “net metering” policy, allowing customers to receive payment for excess energy placed back into the grid during peak hours of consumption. Nevada has served as the pinnacle of the administration’s clean energy agenda. Case in point, President Obama praised Nevada at the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas last year saying, “Clean power from the sun is cheaper […]