SolarCity has stopped sales in Nevada due to the decision by the Nevada Public Utilities Commission to “undermine Nevadans’ ability to go solar” according to the company who opened an office in the state in 2013. The company says the decision by the PUC to raise fees for rooftop solar” amounts to a “massive bait and switch” for both the solar industry and more than 12,000 customers including school for what SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive is calling, “what appears to be an attempt to protect profits of the state’s largest utility”.
“This is a very difficult decision but Governor Sandoval and his PUC leave us no choice. The people of Nevada have consistently chosen solar, but yesterday their state government decided to end customer choice, damage the state’s economy, and jeopardize thousands of jobs,” said Rive. “The PUC has protected NV Energy’s monopoly, and everyone else will lose. We have no alternative but to cease Nevada sales and installations, but we will fight this flawed decision on behalf of our Nevada customers and employees.” The decision to raise solar fees ways made right before the holidays.
Rive says Governor Sandoval’s Office of Economic Development helped bring SolarCity to Nevada in 2013, and encouraged the company to create local jobs. Accepting the Governor’s invitation, the company expanded to Nevada and has hired more than 2,000 local workers in just over two years. The state also created a rebate program to entice Nevadans to go solar, and many took advantage. The rooftop solar industry helped Nevada become number one in the nation in solar jobs per capita in 2014. With abundant sunshine and a populace eager to adopt solar energy and save on electricity bills, the industry was poised to become a cornerstone of the state’s innovation economy. All three members of the PUC, who voted unanimously to change the rules, were appointed by Governor Sandoval.
“Most disturbing is the PUC’s decision to retroactively sabotage existing solar customers’ investments by changing the rules on them,” continued Rive. “The Nevada government encouraged these people to go solar with financial incentives and pro-solar policies, and now the same government is punishing them for their decision with new costs they couldn’t have foreseen. These actions are certainly unethical, unprecedented, and possibly unlawful. While the rest of the country embraces a clean energy future, Nevada is moving backwards.”