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Two Rooftop Solar Companies Leaving Nevada
Two rooftop solar system companies, Sunrun Inc. and SolarCity®, announced this week that they are ceasing operations in Nevada. Both said new rules adopted by Gov. Brian Sandoval's Public Utilities Commission drove their decisions, although Sunrun also cited "actions taken by NV Energy and Nevada politicians" in its announcement. Both Las Vegas daily newspapers reported that the state PUC was still considering the new rules Jan. 7.
Sunrun and SolarCity said ceasing their operations in the state will eliminate hundreds of jobs, including jobs at local solar panel installation companies; Sunrun, which claims to be the largest dedicated residential solar company in the United States, reported that it hopes to transition its Nevada-based employees to other positions within the company where possible or to place them with other local organizations.
The rule adopted Jan. 1, 2016, by the PUC "are more adverse to solar customers than those publicly proposed by NV Energy," according to Sunrun. "The new rules will block thousands of homeowners from choosing clean, affordable electricity, ending the only chance Nevadans had at enjoying choice and competition in electric energy. The rules also undermine the investments of the approximately 16,000 existing solar customers in the state. The reduction or outright elimination of savings for these existing customers was proposed by Commission Staff, who said in testimony that they neither conducted analysis of the retroactive impact on existing customers nor analyzed the impact it would have on future investment in Nevada. Given that Commission Staff conducted no analysis of these impacts, Sunrun called on the PUC commissioners to reconsider their decision. "Commissioners Thomsen, Noble, and Burtenshaw's decision forces Sunrun to displace our Nevada employees, inflicting enormous pain on hard-working Nevada families," said Bryan Miller, senior vice president of public policy & power markets at Sunrun. "Nevada passed incentives to attract residents to go solar. But after baiting homeowners with incentives, the state switched the rules, penalizing solar homeowners to deliver additional profit to NV Energy. This bait and switch hurts Nevada families, many of whom are retirees on fixed incomes, and who use solar savings to meet their monthly budgets."
SolarCity's announcement said its departure from Nevada and closure of a training center it had opened in West Las Vegas about a month ago will eliminate more than 550 jobs in the state, and that the company will try to relocate those workers "to business-friendly states."
"I contacted Governor Sandoval multiple times after the ruling because I am convinced that he and the PUC didn't fully understand the consequences of this decision, not only on the thousands of local jobs distributed solar has created, but on the 17,000 Nevadans that installed solar with the state's encouragement," said Lyndon Rive, SolarCity's CEO. "I'm still waiting to speak to the governor, but I am convinced that once he and the commissioners understand the real impact, that they will do the right thing."
For more information, contact The Solar Alliance, 7th Floor, 20 California St., San Francisco, CA 94111, firstname.lastname@example.org, 415-548-4109.