Las Vegas Sun

September 2, 2014

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letter to the editor:

NV Energy in a tough spot on solar

NV Energy has an interesting dilemma.

Generally, when environmentalists make their demands, someone else pays the price. In the Northwest, the spotted owl was thought to be endangered and loggers were put out of business. When they demand lower carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants, power rates rise. When they demand better fuel economy, we get forced into smaller vehicles.

But it seems that in Nevada, solar is a win for solar owners!

You can purchase a rooftop system that will likely power your home year-round, but since you are going to want power after dark, you need the power company to cooperate with you. It will take extra power when the sun shines and give it back in the summer and after dark. It’s called net metering.

As things stand today, the power company makes the swap evenly and solar owners get to bank and withdraw power, neglecting the fact that only the power company’s network makes it possible. If you pay, say $12,000 for your system and it earns you about $1,200 a year in saved power bills, you have a 10 percent return on your investment. Compared with the less than 1 percent the bank is giving you now, that’s enough to make anyone an environmentalist!

The dilemma: When NV Energy gives solar a break, the shareholders or other ratepayers may suffer; if the company raises prices, it may lose some solar.

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