The desert sun shines brightly over the Las Vegas Valley approximately 300 days a year.
How many homes and office buildings in Nevada have installed photovoltaic solar panels to capture these ambient light waves and convert them into electricity? Over 50,000 homes and businesses, according to NV Energy.
All homeowners who wish to join this exclusive club have just over two years to consider the opportunity before a major federal investment tax credit declines and ends in 2024.
Federal investment tax credit and net metering credits
The Energy Policy Law of 2005 established the Investment Tax Credit to encourage the adoption of renewable energy across the country. Currently, residential homeowners can receive a 26% credit on their federal tax returns for the cost of installing a solar photovoltaic energy system by using IRS form 5695 (Residential Energy Tax Credit) . The 26% credit will drop in 2023 to 22% and end in 2024, unless the federal government takes action to extend it.
NV Energy net metering credits can reduce a monthly electricity bill by returning at least 75 percent of the market value of each excess kilowatt hour generated by installed solar panels, when used by NV Energy’s electricity grid .
Technological innovations have reduced the cost of solar panels, inverters, electrical equipment and mounting hardware over the past two decades. The average cost of an installed 6-kilowatt solar power system has dropped dramatically from about $ 50,000 in 2008 to about $ 15,000, after federal tax incentives.
NV Energy also offers additional discounts and incentives for installing additional battery storage systems, which can continue to provide electricity to a home when the sun is not shining.
More information on NV Energy PowerShift programs for residential home owners, including a rooftop solar calculator tool and net metering program application procedures, is available on the utility’s website, nvenergy .com / cleanenergy / solar.
Nevada Consumer Protection Resources
When looking for a rooftop solar installation company, homeowners should be wary of salespeople and social media marketing campaigns that use the fear of rising utility rates and falling prices. Federal tax incentives to try to push people too quickly into installers and service contracts.
An installation quote should be written and a potential customer should never be forced to make an immediate decision regarding a solar panel system or service contract.
Consumers should carefully review sales and service contracts and study reviews of online businesses before purchasing or renting rooftop solar products.
Prospective customers can take the time to consult with a solar panel installer to make sure the company has a legitimate Nevada contractor’s license number that has been registered with the Nevada State Contractors Board. The contractor’s five-digit license number and integrity can be verified on the NSCB website at nscb.nv.gov.
A transparent list of a contractor’s work history is available on this website, including any complaints, violations or violations. The file also contains the contractor’s business license in the state and the company’s monetary limit for the work for which it was assessed, based on the financial reports filed.
The Nevada State Contractors Board is a consumer protection agency that manages more than 15,000 registered licenses for companies in all construction trades. A Nevada contractor’s license is required to obtain permits from local government building departments.
Electrical work on a home solar power system is considered a âlife safety tradeâ and will require a permit, especially when the electrical wiring of a system is connected to the local distribution grid.
Poor construction or business practices can be addressed by filing a formal complaint with the Council of Contractors. The agency can investigate, verify and enforce violations or labor offenses for up to four years after a rooftop solar system is installed. Enforcement may result in fines and the suspension of an entrepreneur’s license if an investigation verifies a consumer complaint.
When an owner uses an unlicensed contractor, any breach or violation becomes the responsibility of the owner, who may be required to hire a licensed contractor to repair the faulty work and bring it back to code or safety compliance.
If fraud has been perpetrated by an unlicensed contractor and a complaint is filed with the Council of Entrepreneurs, there are fewer enforcement tools available other than a criminal prosecution.
Home builders and the rooftop solar industry
The 2020-2021 COVID-19 pandemic has been another “bump in the road” for the local rooftop solar industry, forcing layoffs and causing supply chain problems.
Nationally, the industry employed 231,000 workers in 2020, down 6.7% from 2019, according to a Solar Foundation research study. But employment rebounded in 2021 along with the rest of the national economy, and the industry is expected to grow by as much as 30% by the end of 2022.
Many local home builders have installed pre-wired electrical harnesses and expanded duct space to accommodate residential solar power system installations in their new communities. But the final decision to install a PV array system on a new home has usually been left to the optional buyer.
Sunnova Energy International Inc. recently purchased the SunStreet Energy subsidiary of the Lennar Group in April and entered into a partnership agreement with the national home builder to provide integrated solar power system installations. Sunnova has partnered with 30 quality home builders nationwide and has installed over 45,000 solar power systems in 600 communities.
New home buyers have the option of renting the electricity produced by the solar panels on their roof or owning the panels and power system as part of the overall price of the house.
As part of a Sunnova LeasePlus agreement, there is no upfront charge for the installation of the solar panel system. The owner pays a fixed monthly charge to Sunnova for the power supplied by the panels and the remote maintenance and monitoring services that are included.
For a homeowner who purchases the solar power system as part of the cost of the home, Sunnova offers a 20-year installation warranty and a 25-year equipment warranty.
The company provides high quality and high performance solar power products from suppliers such as LG, Hanwha and Enphase. As part of rental or purchase plans, homeowners also have the option of adding an additional battery storage system after activating the solar panel system to provide backup power to a home.
Sunnova’s battery storage solutions include Tesla Powerwall, Generac PWRcell, and Enphase EnCharge. Each battery storage system is covered for up to 25 years with a combination of a manufacturer’s limited warranty and additional coverage from Sunnova.
Other independent solar power installation companies in Nevada have suffered the ups and downs of industry growth by developing new business models.
Big national companies like Sunrun, Vivint Solar and Tesla Energy are competing for solar installation projects alongside small Nevada companies.
âThe lesson we learned was to diversify,â said Louise Helton, president and founder of 1 Sun Solar in Las Vegas. His solar power business grew from an addiction to residential solar installations to larger commercial projects that included hospitals and office buildings. 1 Sun Solar has expanded its solar installation project operations beyond Nevada to include larger markets such as Florida and Texas.
Robco Electric has found a diverse mix of residential and commercial projects to continue to hold up locally.
The company offers more efficient two-sided solar panel products and supporting electrical equipment and energy storage solutions based on lithium-ion battery systems.
NV Energy and Statewide Electricity Infrastructure
The next decade of the 2020s is expected to provide growth opportunities for the emerging solar power industry on Nevada’s rooftops despite declining incentives from the federal government.
Along with its PowerShift programs, NV Energy plans to expand its power grid in the state with a $ 2.5 billion investment in its new Greenlink Nevada initiative, which was approved by the Nevada Utilities Commission in March.
The utility will build high voltage transmission lines over the next decade that will connect more substations across the state in a large inverted triangle that will have a major focal point in Las Vegas.
âGreenlink Nevada is a transmission line initiative that we believe will transform Nevada’s energy landscape for decades to come,â said Carolyn Barbash, vice president of transmission development and policy at NV Energy.
Greenlink North will come from a new substation from Fort Churchill to Yerington. The substation will serve as a hub to connect with the Robinson Summit substation in Ely to the east, the Reno / Carson City / Sparks area to the northwest, and the Harry Allen substation in Las Vegas. The Greenlink North transmission line to Ely will provide more electrical infrastructure across the center of the state for a length of 235 miles, while paralleling US Highway 50.
Greenlink South will cross 351 miles from the new Fort Churchill substation in Yerington to the Harry Allen substation northwest of Las Vegas. This transmission line will connect the northern and southern parts of the state through its western regions.
Transmission line projects are expected to come online in stages between 2026 and 2031, although recent state legislation of Senate Bill 448 will push the utility to complete the project by 2028.
The new Greenlink Nevada initiative can build a more flexible statewide power grid over the next decade. An expanded grid could more efficiently combine distributed energy resources such as rooftop solar power systems with utility-scale resources in a way that would benefit all Nevada taxpayers in both urban and rural areas. of State.
More information on the Greenlink Nevada transmission line project is available on NV Energy’s website at nvenergy.com/cleanenergy/greenlink.