Solar power in Nevada
Solar power in Nevada is growing due to a Renewable Portfolio Standard which requires 20% renewable energy by 2015, and 5% from solar power. The state has abundant open land areas and some of the best solar potential in the country.
Solar Power Plants
The number and size of photovoltaic power stations in Nevada has been growing rapidly since about 2010. As of 2018, the largest is the 552 MW Copper Mountain Solar Facility near Boulder City, which is a group of co-located units, each sized up to 250 MW. Another 250 MW unit has been approved for construction, which could make it the largest solar facility in the United States. Earlier notable solar facilities in the state include the 14.2 megawatt (MW-peak), 140 acre Nellis Solar Power Plant, and the 64 MW, 400 acre concentrating solar thermal power plant Nevada Solar One, which both began operation in 2007.
Nevada has also been a leader in low-cost solar electricity generation, establishing several milestones. The Nellis plant was able to provide Nellis Air Force Base with electricity for only 2.2 cents/kWh - compared to the 9 cents they were paying Nevada Power - by selling renewable energy credits (RECs). In 2015, the 100 MW Playa Solar 2 project - to be constructed by First Solar with a 20-year power purchase agreement with NV Energy - was proposed for $0.0378 per kilowatt-hour. This was below the lowest price of $0.046 available the previous year from the 100 MW Boulder Solar plant. In 2018, the 300 megawatt (MWAC) Eagle Shadow Mountain Solar Farm was approved for construction with flat rate of $0.02376 per kilowatt-hour throughout its 25-year PPA term, which could establish a new record..
Solar photovoltaic and/or thermal power has also been proposed to augment some geothermal power plants in the region - which struggle to meet demand during mid-day peak hours due to their higher bottom of the thermodynamic cycle - since the solar plants will peak at that time.
Solar Related Businesses in Nevada
Prominent Nevada-based solar installation companies include 702 Energy Savers, Radiant Solar, Summerlin Energy, Bombard Renewable Energy, and Hamilton Solar.
The federal Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit (income tax credit on IRS Form 5695) for residential PV and solar thermal was extended in December 2015 to remain at 30% of system cost (parts and installation) for systems put into service by the end of 2019, then 26% until the end of 2020, and then 22% until the end of 2021. It applies to a taxpayer's principal and/or second residences, but not to a property that is rented out. There is no maximum cap on the credit, and the credit can be applied toward the Alternative Minimum Tax, and any excess credit (greater than that year's tax liability) can be rolled into the following year.
Net Metering Controversy
Net energy metering rules were changed in December 2015, unfavorably for homeowners having or considering rooftop solar, and were applied even to existing installations. Some major installers, including SolarCity, Vivint, and SunRun, withdrew from the Nevada market.
After a public outcry, the earlier favorable rules were grandfathered for up to 32,000 customers whose systems were active or had a pending application by December 31, 2015. The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada approved bill AB405 in 2017 to restore net metering.
Nevada utility scale solar electric generation::
(% of NV total)
(% of US Solar)
(*) Preliminary data from Electric Power Monthly.
Beginning with the 2014 data year, Energy Information Administration has estimated distributed solar photovoltaic generation and distributed solar photovoltaic capacity. These non-utility scale estimates project that, Nevada, generated the following additional solar energy.
|Year||Summer capacity (MW)||Electric energy (GWh or M kWh)|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Solar power in Nevada.|
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Instead, we can turn to 8minutenergy’s 300-megawatt Eagle Shadow Mountain Solar Farm, which clocks in at a flat rate of $23.76 per megawatt-hour throughout its 25-year PPA term.
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