Las Vegas Sun

September 20, 2014

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State reveals plan to step up solar energy development

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Gov. Jim Gibbons

Nevada is serious about going solar.

The state already has more solar energy per capita than any other, but with its small population that hasn't meant much to solar developers and manufacturers.

Enter the state Office of Energy.

It announced this evening plans to contract with solar photovoltaic installers and developers in the state to build solar installations -- including panel-covered parking shades -- at several state buildings across Nevada.

The office is preparing a request for proposals that should be ready for developers and installers by the end of the month.

It is seeking proposals for projects at 15 specific sites, including nine in Clark County, as well as proposals for Department of Corrections sites.

Among the proposed projects are solar panel-covered parking shades at the Grant Sawyer building in Las Vegas, the Henderson, Flamingo Road and Decatur Boulevard Department of Motor Vehicle buildings, and shaded parking structures and removable solar installations on vacant land between Charleston and Oakey boulevards.

"We will lead by example and make use of clean solar power for state buildings," Gov. Jim Gibbons said in a statement. "We will save taxpayers millions of dollars in utility costs."

The new solar installations are to be paid for out of money set aside to pay electricity bills on state buildings.

The state is expecting the proposals to include contract details by which the state will pay the installer back the costs of components and installation through a set per kilowatt hour fee. With the cost of solar panels dropping over the past few years, the state expects the fee proposed by the installers to be less than the cost of buying electricity during the day from NV Energy.

The endeavor is inspired by a recently completed project at the state National Guard facility, which was overseen by state Energy Director Jim Groth.

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