This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.
Nevada Adopts Solar Energy Incentives, Awards First to Washoe Tribe
Nevada has ample solar energy resources, a fact that led the state's legislature to pass a bill last year that provides incentives for solar power installations. In early April, the Nevada Public Utility Commission (PUC) voted to adopt new regulations to implement those incentives, thereby establishing the state's Solar Energy Systems Demonstration Program. The new program offers $5 per watt of solar generating capacity, up to a combined total of 500 kilowatts, beginning this July. By 2006, the incentive payment will be reduced to $3 per watt, but the total eligible capacity will be expanded to 3 megawatts. In exchange for the incentive payment, participants will transfer the Renewable Energy Credits from their installations to their utility, thereby helping the utilities to meet their renewable energy requirements. In late April, the Nevada PUC announced the first participant in the program: the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California. The tribe will install a 7.5-kilowatt solar power system on the Washoe Environmental Protection Department building in Gardnerville, about 15 miles south of Carson City. See the Nevada PUC's press releases from April 8th (PDF 116 KB) and April 28th (PDF 104 KB). Download Acrobat Reader.
The Nevada PUC also took action in late April to encourage renewable energy development in the state by requiring the state's utilities to consider the economic impact and environmental benefits of renewable resources when preparing their long-term energy plans. The new regulations also allow the PUC to award financial incentives, such as enhanced financial returns, for some renewable energy projects. See the Nevada PUC press release (PDF 112 KB).