Solar, Utility Scale

Nevada Extends Tax Credits for Renewables & Increases RPS

Nevada’s Governor Jim Gibbons has signed two new solar energy bills into law. The first, AB 522, extends tax abatements for renewable energy power plant development. The second, SB 358, increases the state’s renewable electricity targets and makes some improvements to the SolarGenerations rebate program.

Summary of primary solar provisions in AB 522:

  • Extends and enhances sales and property tax abatements for wholesale renewable energy projects in Nevada above 10 MW in size.
  • Establishes a fund for low interest loans to build renewable energy projects authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Summary of primary solar provisions in SB 358:

  • Requires that the state’s investor-owned utility generate 25 percent of its energy from renewables by 2025 (increased from 20 percent by 2015).
  • Requires that 6 percent of the RPS come from solar resources beginning in 2016, an increase from 5 percent.
  • Establishes a 30 day application approval process for the state’s SolarGenerations rebate program. Eligibility capacity and categories for the program remain at 1 MW for schools, 760 kW for public buildings, 1 MW for residential and small commercial under 30 kW).
  • Establishes additional rebates for 2 MW of solar at schools.

Solar advocates from the Vote Solar Initiative, the Solar Alliance and the Large-scale Solar Association (LSA) said that AB 522 represents a great step forward for Nevada, but the groups said improvement need to be made to SB 358 before Nevada can take full advantage of solar energy.

“Through the process of passing SB 358, Senator Horsford, Senator Schneider, Assemblywoman Kirkpatrick and Assemblyman Conklin demonstrated that building a new solar economy in Nevada is a clear priority,” said Julia Curtis of Sharp Solar, elected Solar Alliance’s lead for Nevada. “Unfortunately, the bill in its final form falls short of creating a robust rooftop and small scale solar market. The 5 percent distributed solar carve-out we supported would have created upwards of 6,700 jobs in the state by 2020. We look forward to working with policymakers to ensure a more comprehensive solar program in the future.”