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July 27, 2016

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Sunrun laying off hundreds, ceasing operations in Nevada

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John Harrington / Sunrun / AP

Real estate experts Drew Scott, left, and Jonathan Scott, center, stars of the HGTV show “Property Brothers” and solar enthusiasts, help install Sunrun solar panels Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, on their “smart home” in Las Vegas.

Sunrun is laying off hundreds of workers as it winds down operations in Nevada, the rooftop solar company announced today.

Sunrun said it is ceasing sales and installation of solar panels in Nevada because of a decision by the Public Utilities Commission increasing NV Energy bills for rooftop solar customers.

The news comes a day after SolarCity, which also is halting sales in Nevada, announced the layoff of more than 550 employees.

A spokesperson for Sunrun could not provide an exact number of employees laid off but estimated hundreds would be impacted. Employees were informed of the decision Wednesday afternoon.

Where possible, Sunrun said, it plans to relocate Nevada employees to other states. It will maintain a small presence here to service existing customers.

The commission’s decision “forces Sunrun to displace our Nevada employees, inflicting enormous pain on hard-working Nevada families,” Bryan Miller, a senior vice president at Sunrun, said in a statement.

The PUC in December issued an order changing the rate structure for rooftop solar customers. It raised a fixed fee and lowered the value of credits solar customers earn for providing excess energy to the grid.

The commission argued the new rate structure was necessary to ensure that solar customers, who are still connected to the power grid, did not unfairly shift costs to nonsolar ratepayers.

The decision is being challenged by the state’s Bureau of Consumer Protection and the solar industry.

Sunrun’s decision could also impact smaller solar companies in the state becuase Sunrun partners with local installation companies. Sunrun’s statement predicted these companies might have to cut employees or shut down.

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