Nevada governor signs bill to revive solar industry

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Nevada's shifting energy policy may be a microcosm of wider USA policy, as Gov. Bill Sandoval this week signed a bill that reinstates net metering for photovoltaic solar power systems.

PUC at the time imposed rules effectively ending net-metering, all but forcing electrical utilities to buy the energy produced by rooftop solar panels at near-retail rates.

The policy reinstatement will "bring in thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in positive economic benefit" to Nevada, Tesla executive JB Straubel said at the bill's signing.

Senate Bill 554 was among the few nail-biter proposals that passed in the final hour of the 2017 legislative session on June 5. It's part of Sandoval's bill-signing tour in Las Vegas, and one of several to do with clean energy.

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A 2009 visit by former President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, secured the freedom of American journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling. The arrests have come at a time of heightened tension between North Korea and the United States and its regional neighbours.

The legislation reverses 2015 rules that sharply lowered retail credits and raised fees for rooftop solar customers, pushing out installers including SolarCity, Sunrun Inc. and Vivint Solar Inc. "Because of Nevada's pro-renewable energy policies, more than $6 billion has been invested in our state". Some analysts believe the policy is a wealth transfer from public utilities to rooftop solar companies, because the demand and price for the electrical power fluctuates widely on any given day. The credit declines overtime in 7 percent increments for every 80 megawatts of rooftop solar energy deployed, until it reaches a floor rate at 75 percent of the retail rate.

In addition to possibly boosting the state's renewables standard, Sandoval also has on his desk a measure to create a community solar program.

The Senate approved the measure 17-4 and the Assembly approved the measure 30-12.

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