The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada on Sept. 16 moved to end a year-long debate over reducing net metering benefits for customers who had installed solar systems before the state imposed the new rules.
The commission agreed to grandfather the customers under an agreement between NV Energy, Solar City and the Bureau of Consumer Protection.
In all, 32,138 customers will be eligible for grandfathered rates, according to NV Energy. They include those who already installed solar systems or had submitted an interconnection request before Dec. 31, 2015.
All but about 7,800 were already interconnected, according to a filing before the commission.
The grandfathered solar customers will now receive the more favorable benefits available in Nevada before the commission reduced net metering compensation in December.
Gov. Brian Sandoval has been pushing the idea of grandfathering the customers through his New Energy Industry Task Force. In July, the task force proposed legislation that would have made the change. That same month NV Energy filed the grandfathering tariff with the commission.
"This is an important step to establish regulatory certainty in Nevada for customers who have had quite a roller coaster ride this year, said Sean Gallagher, the vice president of state affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), in a statement issued Sept. 16.
As a next step, Gallagher called for putting policies in place that support new solar customers in Nevada, as well.
Sandoval praised the settlement earlier in the week when he received word that it had been filed by the parties.
"I asked the major companies involved in the issue of net metering to work together and reach a resolution that benefits Nevada ratepayers and solar customers and ensures Nevada maintains its status as the national leader in clean and renewable energy. I am pleased with the result and believe it is in the best interests of all Nevadans," he said.
The commission order lets NV Energy track the costs of the grandfathering policy versus what the costs would have been had the commission not gone forward with the Sept. 16 decision. NV Energy may request recovery of the difference in its next rate case.
Paul Caudill, NV Energy president and CEO, described the grandfathering tariff as the most efficient and timely way to implement Gov. Sandoval's New Energy Industry Task Force recommendation. He also said that it is fair for "this set of existing net metering customers."
Solar City has installed 10,000 rooftop solar systems in Nevada.