New Nevada net metering rules to affect solar jobs growth

Solar park in Nevada, USA. Author: BlackRockSolar. License: Creative Commons. Attribution 2.0 Generic

February 12 (SeeNews) - The US state of Nevada ranks third in the country in terms of solar jobs in 2015, with about 8,764 employed in that sector, according to a report by The Solar Foundation.

On a jobs per capita basis, Nevada ranks first among the states both in 2014 and 2015.

Based on previous forecasts, solar employment in the state could increase by 18.5% year-on-year in 2016. However, the recent changes in net metering terms and the subsequent exit from this market by several large players may reduce the projected growth considerably, The Solar Foundation warned.

Before Christmas 2015 the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) lifted the utility service charge for small solar owners, and also reduced the sum paid to them for power sent to the grid. The changes will occur in phases between 2016 and 2020.

Statistics show that of the existing solar jobs 2.7% are in manufacturing and 1.4% are in sales and distribution. A total of 94.5% are in the installation business. This is the field in which SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY) and Sunrun Inc (NASDAQ:RUN) operate -- two of the major players that announced they were leaving Nevada after the PUC decision.

Nevada’s cumulative solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity stands at 1,016 MW, with about 218 MW of new installations in the first nine months of 2015, the report says.

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