Nevada to reconsider retroactive changes to net metering

Net metering is the biggest policy battleground for solar in the United States at present, and no state has dismantled its policy as swiftly and as thoroughly as Nevada. On December 22, the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) made sweeping changes to the policy, which advocates say ruin the economics of rooftop solar in the state.

The most egregious aspect of PUCN’s Christmas surprise was the retroactive nature of the charges, which applied to NV Energy customers who invested in PV systems under the previous net metering regulations as well as new customers. And while PUCN has shown no interest in considering appeals to the main body of the policy, on Wednesday it indicated that it will reconsider “grandfathering” in existing solar customers.

Outcry against PUCN’s radical changes to the rules for solar customers has been criticized both nationally and within the state, including by the Nevada Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection (BCP). According to a Wednesday filing, on January 25, PUCN plans to hear BCP’s request.

BCP is not the only party objecting to the retroactive nature of the changes, and the Las Vegas Sun reports that a class action lawsuit has been filed against the PUCN.

However, even if BCP and angry PV system owners are satisfied by grandfathering of existing PV installations, this move is unlikely to stop the solar industry from fighting the changes. The Sunrun-backed Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) has already filed suit against Sandoval, and SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive promised on Tuesday that Nevada Governor Sandoval and the PUCN members he appointed will “hear more from us in the coming days”.