It is a sign of the growing importance of solar that the first question which a Las Vegas Sun reporter asked Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton was about recent changes to the states net metering policy.
Shortly before Christmas the Nevada Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved sweeping changes to the states net metering policy, including new charges and a special rate class for PV system owners, as well as lower rates for electricity produced in excess of consumption. These changes will also apply to homeowners who installed systems under the previous net metering rules.
The retroactive nature of these changes is one of the most troubling to solar advocates. Hillary Clinton repeatedly mentioned this in her reply, noting that giving investors certainty is critical to enabling the transition to renewable energy.
I don’t think any change in rules should penalize people who were permitted and encouraged to do what folks have done, stated Clinton.
The Alliance for Solar Choice is planning a legal appeal to the changes, and a group backed by SolarCity is currently investigating the ties between NV Energy and the Nevada PUC. Both SolarCity and Sunrun have announced layoffs in Nevada since the ruling.
Clinton also cited the number of solar jobs both in Nevada and the United States overall, describing increased solar adoption as a win-win. Since the interview The Solar Foundation released a report which found 209,000 solar jobs in the United States, with the majority of these in the residential sector.
All three of the Democratic candidates for president have come out strongly in favor of a rapid shift to renewable energy. Hillary Clinton has presented a plan to grow solar seven-fold by 2020 and move the nation to 33% renewable energy by 2027. This initially included a call to extend the solar investment tax credit, which happened in late December.