Solar news: Nevada and North Carolina move forward with solar-friendly legislation, IKEA announces massive solar array project

As President Trump’s Paris decision looms large, state legislative measures tackling solar accessibility are more important than ever. Nevada’s net metering bill, North Carolina’s solar reform bill, and a large solar array plan from IKEA are the headlines from this week’s Solar News Report.

Nevada bill brings back rooftop solar net metering

The Nevada State Legislature passed a bill early this week that many expect will revive the state’s dormant rooftop solar market. The bill will reinstate net energy metering on residential solar projects at a discounted compensation rate, as well as establish several consumer protections to encourage rooftop solar. The bill will:

  • Reimburse rooftop solar customers for excess generation at 95 percent of the retail electricity rate, eventually reducing the rate to a floor of 75 percent
  • Allow net-metered customers to lock in their rate for at least 20 years to remove the risk from retroactive rate changes
  • Require solar companies to offer 10-year warranties
  • Protect solar customers from higher fees for investing in distributed energy

The vice president of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) said, in a statement, “We believe that it will be able to get solar companies back to business in Nevada, creating jobs and investment.” The state lost more than 2,600 jobs when net metering was eliminated in 2015 and major solar firms left. Tesla looks to contribute to the return of those jobs, saying they will be selling rooftop solar and residential storage products in Nevada as soon as possible.

Solar reform bill moving to the North Carolina House floor vote on Wednesday

A bill mandating that North Carolina utilities develop a new rebate program for residential and commercial rooftop solar is on its way to the Senate floor in North Carolina for a vote. The bill, which has bipartisan support, also establishes guidelines for community solar programs by allowing five or more customers to subscribe to buying fixed amounts of solar power from a common source.

In addition, the bill mandates a competitive-bidding process for solar construction on the utility scale is on its way to the Senate floor in North Carolina for a vote. A competitive-bidding process where solar developers submit bids to the state’s dominant utility, Duke Energy, would save about $850 million according to Duke, which would be passed on to consumers.

IKEA announces large solar array for Jacksonville store

Already a leader in solar energy, IKEA announced this week that they will be implementing a solar array atop their Jacksonville, FL store opening this fall. Some important numbers from the project:

  • The solar array will be 251,206 square feet in size
  • The system will be built with 5,472 panels
  • IKEA will benefit from 2,753,070 kWh of electricity generated annually from the array

The array will be the store’s fifth in Florida, and 49th in the U.S. IKEA has allocated $2.5 billion to invest in renewable energy through 2020, and this project is consistent with the goal of becoming energy independent by 2020. IKEA already has more than 700,000 solar panels worldwide, as well as hundreds of wind turbines.