Nevada's original net-metering law for renewable-energy systems was enacted in 1997 and amended in 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2011, 2013, and 2015. Systems up to one megawatt (MW) in capacity that generate electricity using solar, wind, geothermal, biomass and certain types of hydropower are generally eligible, although systems greater than 25 kilowatts (kW) in capacity may be subject to certain costs at the utility's discretion. Systems must be designed to offset part or all of a customer-generator's electricity requirements. A system is not eligible for net metering if its generating capacity exceeds the greater of (1) the limit on demand that the class of customer of the customer-generator may place on the utility's system, or (2) 100% of the customer's annual electricity demand. Each investor-owned utility operating in Nevada must offer net metering until the aggregate capacity of all net-metered systems in the state equals 235 megawatts (MW).
For net-metered systems up to 25 kW, utilities must offer the customer-generator a meter capable of registering the flow of electricity in two directions. The utility may not charge these customer-generators any fee that would increase their minimum monthly charges to an amount greater than that of other customers in the same rate class.
For net-metered systems greater than 25 kW, the utility may require a customer-generator to install -- at its own cost -- a meter capable of measuring generation output and customer load. In addition, a utility may require a customer-generator to pay for any upgrades to the utility's system, excluding standby charges, that are required to make the customer's system compatible with the utility's system.
Net Excess Generation
For all net-metered systems, customer net excess generation (NEG) is carried over to the following month as a kilowatt-hour credit indefinitely. If the cost of purchasing and installing a net-metered system is paid for in whole or in part by a utility, then the electricity generated by the system will be considered to be generated by the utility or acquired from a renewable-energy system for the purpose of complying with the state's renewable portfolio standard (RPS). On the other hand, if the cost of purchasing and installing the system was paid for entirely by a customer, the PUCN will issue to the customer portfolio energy credits (PECs).
If a customer is billed for electricity under a time-of-use schedule, any customer NEG during a given month will be carried forward to the same time-of-use period as the time-of-use period in which it was generated, unless the subsequent billing period lacks a corresponding time-of-use period. If there is no corresponding time-of-use period, then the NEG carried forward must be apportioned evenly among the available time-of-use periods. Excess generation fed to the grid is considered electricity generated or acquired by the utility to comply with Nevada's energy portfolio standard.
Assembly Bill 359 allows owners of hydropower facilities with a generating capacity up to 1 MW to offset electricity consumed on multiple contiguous properties owned by the customer generator. Assembly Bill 359 also allows for meter aggregation in the case of a wind energy device installed during 2012 on property owned or leased by an institution of higher learning and used for research and workforce training.
Assembly Bill 428, enacted in June 2013, required the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) to open an investigation to evaluate the costs and benefits of net energy metering, and then recommend a methodology for allocating such costs and benefits appropriately. The PUCN opened Docket 13-07010 for this process and commissioned a study by E3, which is available in that docket and on the PUCN’s website. On September 26, 2014, the PUCN submitted its net metering report to the Legislature, in which it recommended the Legislature modify the existing net metering statutes to provide the PUCN more flexibility to address net metering issues in general rate cases. The PUCN has also opened an investigation in Docket 14-06009 on whether to create separate customer classes for net metering customers.