FAQ: Net Metering in Nevada
What is net metering?
Net metering provides a way for residential and commercial customers who generate their own electricity through solar, wind or other clean energy systems to send electricity they don't use back into the grid.*
Let's say you've installed a rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) system on the roof of your house. Thanks to that system, your house is generating energy throughout the daylight hours. During times when the system generates more electricity than your house is using at that moment, the excess electricity is sent back into the grid, to be used to power nearby homes and businesses.
At night, however, when the sun isn't shining, your home gets whatever electricity you need from the grid, instead of your PV system.
Net metering is a billing arrangement that allows renewable system owners to bank their excess energy: credit for the excess power you send back into the grid is used against the costs incurred when your home is taking electricity from the utility rather than your PV system. In effect, customers are only billed for their "net" energy use.*
How does net metering work in Nevada?
If you live in an NVEnergy service area, net metering works like this:
"If your system produces more energy in a billing period than you used, you will earn credits that are recorded on your bill as kilowatt‐hours, the same measure by which your energy consumption is calculated. These credits will be applied to your energy consumption in the next billing period in which you consume more energy than you produce. In Nevada, your credits are good for the life of your account. As long as your bill is active, you may use the credits. The credits are automatically used to offset any electric power you draw from NV Energy’s system until they are fully consumed."
Why has net metering been in the news lately?
In Nevada, as in many other states, net metering is required by state law. Net metering was placed into Nevada state law in 1997 through Senate Bill 255.
In 2013 the Nevada Legislature tasked the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) to study the cost and benefits of net metering. The PUCN was also asked to provide recommendations about placing net-metered customers in a new utility customer classification and/or assessing an additional fee or higher rates beyond the traditional rate structure.
The study concluded that net-metered customers did not cost traditional customers any additional money.
In September, the PUCN sent recommendations and the study’s findings to the 2015 Nevada Legislature to determine if any changes to the state’s net metering policy should be made, and possibly provide the PUCN more flexibility on setting future net metering rate structures.
As you can imagine, all residential renewable energy installation companies, as well as Nevada’s utilities, will be paying close attention to next year’s legislative session.