Legislature receives $150,000 rebate for solar system

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal The solar roof is seen from the office of Sen. David Parks, D-Las Vegas, on Wednesday. Sierra Pacific Resources presented the Legislative Counsel Bureau with a rebate check for the organization's newly-installed solar roof.

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal The solar roof is seen from the office of Sen. David Parks, D-Las Vegas, on Wednesday. Sierra Pacific Resources presented the Legislative Counsel Bureau with a rebate check for the organization's newly-installed solar roof.

The Nevada Legislature received a check for $150,000 from Sierra Pacific Resources on Wednesday " a rebate through the SolarGenerations program created in 2003 for installing the first solar power system on a state building.

"It's great to see an agency of the state taking advantage of this legislation," said Michael Yakira, CEO of Sierra Pacific.

He said the rebate will cover more than half the cost of the 30-kilowatt generating system atop the Legislature's new printing office and warehouse building.

Gov. Jim Gibbons praised the installation as an example of "government leading by example."

He said one of his prime goals as governor is to develop Nevada's energy resources to make the state into an exporter of power instead of an importer.

"We have solar. We have wind. We have geothermal. We have biomass," he said.

"Renewables are the future of our energy in Nevada.

"We need to start looking more at how we can capitalize on those resources," he said.

He said the state, with large buildings, many of which have flat roofs, could "achieve considerable savings" by putting solar systems on them. And, he said, the state should consider solar in all future construction.

Gibbons presented the Legislative Counsel Bureau with a certificate of appreciation, joking that this may be the first time the legislative branch has received such a certificate from the executive branch.

SolarGenerations was passed by the 2003 Legislature to encourage residential, small business, schools and public entities to install solar generating panels. Since then, 311 projects have been installed, generating about 1.7 megawatts of electric power.

The first was a $33,185 rebate to the Washoe Tribe in 2004 after they installed photovoltaic panels atop the tribe's office building in Gardnerville.

The legislative rebate is one of the larger payments. But the largest on the list went to the Gerlach elementary/middle school project which received a $450,000 check for its 90-kilowatt system.

Yakira said Nevada has more solar generation per capita than any other state. The largest is the Solar 1 solar thermal plant near Boulder City which can generate 64 megawatts of power.

He said the largest photovoltaic plant in the nation is also in Nevada " a 14 megawatt system at Nellis Air Force Base.

In addition to the solar system rebate, Yakira presented the Legislature with a check for $3,974 for the energy efficient lighting system installed in the new building.

- Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.

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