Nevada Indian Tribe Receives State's First Solar Rebate

December 17, 2004

The Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California received the first rebate check for its new solar power system under an innovative Nevada program. Sierra Pacific Power Company presented the check to the Washoe at the company's headquarters in Reno on November 30. Sierra Pacific is the largest investor-owned utility in the state, with a service territory of 50,000 square miles in northern Nevada and eastern California.

The Washoe received the $33,185 check for installing a 7.5-kW photovoltaic (PV) system on the tribe's office building near Gardnerville and Lake Tahoe in northwestern Nevada.

The Nevada Legislature authorized the solar program, called SolarGenerations, in 2003, and the Nevada Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved utility rebates for the program last summer. The rebates are scheduled to decline over time to encourage cost reductions in solar power technology. Rebates for the first year are $5/Watt (W), and for the second year are $4/W. Sierra Pacific will begin to accept applications for the second year of funding in January. SolarGenerations has another 55 projects under construction with a combined rated capacity of 200 kW.

Nevada PUC Chairman Dan Soderberg was among the dignitaries who attended the check presentation in Reno. Soderberg said, "Renewable resources are vital components of Nevada's energy portfolio and will aid in our battle against the volatile energy markets. I appreciate the Washoe Tribe's commitment to sustainable resources and advancing the use of renewable energy in Nevada."

For more information on the program, including information on a training program for PV installers that the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) have developed, see Sierra Pacific's November 30 press release.