If you haven't heard, the Nevada PUC decided to blindly follow the recommended fee structure from the private utility monopoly owned by Warren Buffet. Their review of studies that explored any costs that might be related to a solar PV customer concludes (in a very divisive way... coincidence?) that non-solar customers are burdened with the grid maintenance costs that these solar customers are no longer paying. For some reason their study made no effort to get current data, review similar conclusions made by other utilities commissions (study findings in Vermont), nor attempt to assess any of the BENEFITS to the utility of having customers with solar PV attached to their grid. The resulting phase in of power reimbursement rates to be inline with NON-PEAK wholesale averages, and to bump up monthly fees for costs that all other utility customers (regardless of usage) are deemed to already be paying, has made any grid-tied solar PV project uneconomic. Hence, solar installation companies are closing their doors in Nevada, and taking their jobs with them.
Perhaps if the argument for Nevada PUC is dummied down a bit...
When I spend big bucks on an energy efficient LED lightbulb that says it will pay for itself with 2 years of use, I expect to get the benefits on that investment. I do not expect the electric utility to compensate me for my reduction in the use of transmission lines, nor their cost savings in grid management nor savings on deferral of new power plant construction. These savings are given freely to them.
And similarly, when a person spends big bucks on solar panels, they expect the net benefits of not using electricity, along with the less tangible benefits of producing power to match peak daily usage, reduction of congestion and resistence on transmission lines, reduction in environmental destruction and pollution-related health costs, and deferral of new power plants being passed on to all of the users of the utility.
If the fees from the utility are not covering their fixed costs for transmission infrastructure, then they should adjust these fees accordingly for ALL utility customers, along with a corresponding reduction in charges for energy usage which currently include those less tangible costs.
I'm not from Nevada, but I'm extremely pissed on their behalf that a regulated monopoly is being allowed to rape the owners of solar PV in that area. The current consideration of grandfathering in the existing installed solar does not address the problem. If their rate structure is not reflecting their costs, then change the rate structure... for ALL customers.