Nevada Supreme Court Nixes Net-Metering Ballot Proposal

 Write the words ‘Nevada’ and ‘net-metering’ together and you will soon discover a first-rate oxymoron.
To the dismay of many rooftop solar enthusiasts and litigants, the Nevada Supreme Court last Thursday rejected a ballot proposal backed by state solar advocates which sought to restore retail rate net metering. The Court ruling stated the language was misleading and the proposal was ineligible as a referendum.

Las Vegas shutterstock_305282507Bottom line, this decision upholds a lower court ruling in March, which ruled the ballot proposal was unconstitutional, saying it sought to remove sections of a law rather than the full law.

A group of solar companies, led by SolarCity, introduced their ballot measure in January of this year through the political action committee, No Solar Tax. After a lower court ruling in March invalidated the proposal, the groups filed an appeal in the state Supreme Court.

But the effort was to no avail. The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld that ruling, finding that the language used in the ballot proposal was misleading. That invalidates all signatures supporting the proposal and eliminates the possibility it will appear on the November ballot, PV Magazine has reported.

Nevada’s seemingly unending debate over rooftop solar incentives has proven to be “…one of the most contentious energy policy discussions of the year,” writes UtilityDIVE, “with lawsuits filed against the PUC and armed observers showing up at one regulatory meeting.”

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval is expected to push state lawmakers to alter the new solar rates put in effect in December 2015. This May, the governor’s New Energy Industry Task Force, convened in response to the net metering decision, passed a motion to grandfather existing solar customers on the old solar rates for 25 years. Recommendations from the Task Force will underpin legislation introduced by Governor Sandoval next year.

Nevada utility NV Energy has also entered the ring, having submitted a proposal for a limited grandfathering provision for the second time last month, which is said to be similar to recommendations made by Gov. Brian Sandoval’s New Energy Industry Task Force.

Accompanying this rash of activity, PUC Commissioner David Noble, who drafted some of the proposals in the controversial net metering decision, will not be reappointed to the commission next year.

Similar to NV Energy’s filing, the task force suggests a deadline of Dec. 31, 2015 to grandfather existing solar customers. The group has also been charged with devising an alternative solar incentive to net metering by Sept. 30.

Following the Supreme Court ruling, much remains to be determined in this solar electricity juggling act over the coming months.

Image via Shutterstock






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is a writer, producer, and director. Meyers is editor and site director of Green Building Elements, a contributor to CleanTechnica, and founder of Green Streets MediaTrain, a communications connection and eLearning hub. As an independent producer, he’s been involved in the development, production and distribution of television and distance learning programs for both the education industry and corporate sector. He also is an avid gardener and loves sustainable innovation.