Nevada Regulators Reject Request to Halt New Rooftop Solar Rules

  • State consumer advocate and solar companies asked for stay
  • SolarCity and Sunrun stopped business in state due to rule

Nevada regulators rejected a request to suspend new rates for rooftop solar customers that clean-energy companies say will hurt their business.

The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada voted 3-0 Wednesday to deny a request by the state consumer advocate and solar companies to stay fees put into effect on Jan. 1, Peter Kostes, a spokesman for the commission, said in an e-mailed statement. The decision came after residents, solar workers, and activists including actor Mark Ruffalo spoke out against the fees at a hearing. 

The solar industry has turned its attention to Nevada, where regulators last month approved a boost in fixed monthly fees and a cut in credits for excess clean energy for customers with rooftop panels. The rules apply to both existing and new home solar users. Residential installers SolarCity Corp. and Sunrun Inc. have stopped business in Nevada and announced hundreds of job cuts in reaction to the policy change.

State and federal programs that promote wider use of clean energy have helped make rooftop systems the fastest-growing part of the solar market. That’s led to friction between companies that install and operate them, and utilities that view them as a threat to revenue.

Some traditional power companies have asked regulators to revise the programs, saying they force non-solar customers to subsidize those who use the green technology. Thirty-one U.S. states are considering changes to rooftop solar policies, according to Moody’s Investors Service. 

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