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Solar rebate program taking applications

Appeal Capitol Bureau

Sierra Pacific and Nevada Power are accepting applications beginning Aug. 1 for the program which provides rebates to electric customers who install solar electric systems.

This is the fifth year of SolarGenerations, a statewide program seeking to increase the number of customers who use photovoltaic (PV) technology, which converts sunlight into direct current electricity. Residential customers, small businesses and, under changes approved by the 2007 Legislature, schools and government agencies connected to either the Sierra Pacific or Nevada Power electric grids, are all eligible to participate according to Project Manager John Hargrove.

SolarGenerations was changed from a pilot program to a permanent program by the 2007 Legislature. The Public Utilities Commission is in the process of revising regulations governing the program, which has delayed setting the rebate rates for this year. Those rebates have ranged from $5 to $3 per watt of electricity.

Approximately 230 SolarGenerations projects, capable of producing up to 1,143 kilowatts of electricity were completed during and rebates totaling $4.3 million paid during the first three years of the program. Another 648 projects capable of generating up to 6,700 kilowatts of electricity have been approved for the fourth year of the program, which could total nearly $7.5 million in rebates.

The PUC may also revise the maximum program size cap. Currently, residential customers can earn rebates for up to 5 kilowatts of installed PV panels, and small commercial customers, schools and public buildings can earn rebates on a maximum of 30 kilowatts.

Interested customers should call 866-PV-NEVADA (866-786-3823), or visit the program website, http://www.SolarGenerations.com to learn more about the program.

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