News Releases

More Nevadans Getting Electricity from the Sun

Feb 20, 2006

Karl Walquist (775) 834-3891 or
Sonya Headen (702) 367-5222

Construction could begin this summer on 174 photovoltaic (PV) projects in Nevada capable of converting sunlight into approximately 1,350,000 watts (1.35 megawatts) of electricity, or enough energy for about 600 households.

Applications to participate in Nevada's SolarGenerations program were recently sent to the Nevada Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Task Force for their approval, and they have forwarded their recommendations to the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada for final authorization.

Approved projects can come on line as soon as July 1, 2006, explained John Hargrove, project manager for energy efficiency and conservation for Sierra Pacific Power and its sister company in southern Nevada, Nevada Power Company.

The Solar Energy Systems Demonstration Program was created by Assembly Bill 431, which was passed by the Nevada State Legislature in 2003. The legislation authorized funding for rebates to Nevadans who install PV systems on their homes or businesses. Schools and public buildings are also eligible to participate. The program was extended by the State Legislature in 2005 and will run until 2010.

Since the kick off of SolarGenerations in 2004, Nevadans have installed 378 kilowatts of solar energy, and another 1,000 kilowatts is scheduled to be completed by June 30, 2006. (A kilowatt consists of 1,000 watts.)

Projects approved for the third year of the program must be completed by June 30, 2007, to be eligible for rebates. Rebates for the installations amount to $3 per watt of electricity produced, and since the start of the program over $1 million in rebates has been paid to participants. They can also earn credits on their monthly electric bills if they generate more power than they use.

The largest rebate in northern Nevada was awarded to the Smoky Valley Library District in Round Mountain in July 2005. For investing in a photovoltaic system that generates about 28,000 watts of electricity, the library district earned a $140,000 rebate.

In southern Nevada, the Clark County School District earned a $250,000 rebate in June 2005 for installing photovoltaic panels on the roofs of four elementary schools that are capable of generating a total of approximately 50,000 watts of electricity. In addition, those installations feed information into computers in science classrooms where pupils learn about renewable energy.

Since the start of the program, 67 photovoltaic systems have been installed on 42 homes in northern Nevada and on 25 homes in southern Nevada. 

 Ã¢â‚¬Å“SolarGenerations gives people an opportunity to see how photovoltaics work,” Hargrove said. “It helps offset energy costs for participants and allows us to use more of the state's abundant sunshine while reducing Nevada's dependence on fossil fuels.” 

To learn more about photovoltaic energy and the rebate program offered by Sierra Pacific and Nevada Power visitwww.solargenerations.comor call 866-PV-NEVADA.