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December 9, 2021

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Solar company suspends Nevada expansion, blames NV Energy controversy

Vivint Solar

COURTESY

In this file photo, Vivint Solar employees install solar panels on a home.

The nation’s second-largest rooftop solar company will suspend its expansion into Nevada because of the ongoing turmoil over the state’s solar cap, according to the company’s latest filings with the Securities Exchange Commission.

The news signals that the fracas between NV Energy and the solar industry are deterring new businesses from operating in Nevada.

Vivint Solar, which has operations in 10 states, announced in July that it would be expanding to Las Vegas. It’s second to SolarCity in number of customers nationwide.

The company began hiring and opened offices in Nevada, hoping to capitalize in a solar market that has grown by more than 1,000 percent in the past year.

But that’s all coming to a halt thanks to the fight on net metering, a program allowing solar customers to receive a credit for providing energy to the grid with solar panels.

“Subsequent to entering Nevada, the available net metering was exhausted. As a result, we have suspended operations in Nevada,” the company’s SEC report said.

Representatives from Vivint didn’t return requests for comment. The size of its operations and number of employees in Nevada were not immediately clear.

Vivint’s choice to remain out of the market is a signal that it’s waiting to see how the Public Utilities Commission will rule on the cap and other solar regulations in the coming months.

The state currently limits the number of customers who may participate in net metering, and NV Energy says the solar industry will hit the max by the end of the month. More than 3,000 people participate in the program.

The PUC denied a solar-backed measure on Wednesday that would have kept the industry alive once the cap is hit. The PUC said it could find a solution to keep the industry from a standstill.

Solar companies have also criticized NV Energy for a proposal it submitted to add new fees and reduce the credit on the power bills of solar customers, saying the utility wants to limit the growth of solar energy.

Led by leasing companies SolarCity and Sunrun, the solar industry in Nevada fears NV Energy’s proposals will reduce the benefits customers receive by going solar.

The PUC has until December to approve the new pricing structure.

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