Solar policy changes ‘force 550 job cuts’ in Nevada

A solar company has announced it has been forced to cut 550 jobs as a result of new regulations in the state of Nevada. It comes as Governor Brian Sandoval’s […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

A solar company has announced it has been forced to cut 550 jobs as a result of new regulations in the state of Nevada.

It comes as Governor Brian Sandoval’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) announced residential and commercial consumers would receive lower, wholesale payments for selling excess power from rooftop solar units to the grid days before Christmas.

It also approved an increase in monthly service charge for solar panel users.

The news comes as the solar industry in the UK has also seen cuts to financial support.

SolarCity said it had to cease sales and installation in the state from 23rd December 2015 and close a training centre in West Las Vegas which was opened a month ago.

It expects other solar firms in Nevada to lay off “thousands” of additional jobs in the coming months.

The company added it will relocate its affected employees to “business-friendly” states where possible.

Lyndon Rive, SolarCity’s CEO said: “I contacted Governor Sandoval multiple times after the ruling because I am convinced that he and the PUC didn’t fully understand the consequences of this decision, not only on the thousands of local jobs distributed solar has created but on the 17,000 Nevadans that installed solar with the state’s encouragement. I’m still waiting to speak to the Governor but I am convinced that once he and the Commissioners understand the real impact, that they will do the right thing.”

Mr Sandoval added the government must ensure families who consume traditional energy sources “are not paying more just to finance the rooftop solar marketplace”.

He said he attempted to call Mr Rive regarding the layoff, adding: “Mr Rive did not answer my call and I was later advised that he was in Mexico and unavailable. I am also unsure what Mr Rive meant by his statement for me to ‘do the right thing’. If such a statement suggests that I somehow influence the PUC’s decision Mr Rive knows, or should know, that such conduct is inappropriate.

“My suggestion is that Mr Rive respect the process and pursue his legal options which include seeking reconsideration of the order or ultimately judicial review. I have also called for the Nevada Consumer Advocate to engage in the case, which it has done.”

The governor added he will support the renewable energy industry in Nevada and capitalise on the state’s “incredible resources for solar, wind, and geothermal power”.