The first thing that comes to mind when you think of Nevada is of course, the city of Las Vegas, which has enormous requirements for electricity, considering the ‘never sleeps’ nature of the city’s entertainment offerings. But visitors and big hotel corporations aren’t the only entities to benefit from the state’s commitment to going solar – assistance is also beginning to trickle down to the private homeowner, so everyone can benefit from going solar.
Nevada’s commitment to going solar
Nevada has one of the most aggressive Renewables Portfolio Standards (RPS) in the entire country, mandating that at least 25% of all energy generated within the state must come from renewable sources by the year 2025, and a sizable chunk of that must come from solar power. This means even the utility companies must get on board with the program, and show that a portion of their generated electricity is sourced from solar energy, or they will face stiff fines by the state.
Significant rebates are available in Nevada through the Renewable Generations Project, which seeks to reward those who install solar panel systems up to a size of 25 KW, at a rate of $147.50 per KW hour. So for instance, a 5 KW sized system would be entitled to a rebate of $147.50 x 5, or $737.50. A system sized at 10 KW would be entitled to twice that amount, or $1,475.00.
Nevada’s special financial benefits for solar
Portfolio Energy Credits (PECs) are special statewide benefits available to Nevada residents who install solar panel systems. As producers of electricity, you are entitle to earn 1 PEC for every 1 KW hour of electricity generated by your system, and these PECs can be sold to utility companies for cash. When utilities buy these PECs from you, it is the same as if they had generated the solar energy themselves, and this is exactly what they need to demonstrate compliance with the state’s RPS mandate, described above.
A standard 5 KW solar panel system will generate enough PECs in a single year to earn you about $450 at current rates, and since PEC contracts with utility companies usually cover 10-yr periods, you will have earned about $4,500 over the life of the contract – for doing nothing whatsoever, except using your solar-generated electricity.
How to go solar in Nevada
The options for going solar in Nevada are similar to options available throughout the country – leasing a system from the utility company or third party, and purchasing a system outright, either with cash on hand or after having taken out a home equity loan. A lease arrangement calls for no upfront money to be paid, but your monthly utility bill will be more than if you owned the system yourself (although far less than electricity off the grid). A purchased system calls for a rather large initial investment, but then virtually no ongoing costs, other than maintenance of your system.