Is it Legal to Use Solar Panels?

It seems like a no-brainer: The sun provides limitless energy, which can be converted into usable energy in the form of solar power. In spite of this fact, there are several areas across the nation that limit an individual’s ability to harness this natural energy source. These limitations, in part, have to do with the logistics of solar energy and how it relates to traditional power grids. Solar advocates and utility companies have been butting heads for years on this issue. So, is using solar power legal in the United States?

Solar Power Across the Nation

While it is not technically illegal to power your home with solar in Nevada, thanks to the way current laws are written, it is often extremely difficult to do so for an environmentally-friendly homeowner. That being said, there are several states across the nation that are leading the way in tapping into solar energy and making it more accessible. The top 10 states pushing sustainable energy, according to a CNBC report, are Georgia, Utah, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Texas, Arizona, North Carolina, California, and — yes — even Nevada.

Nevada boasts both residential and commercial solar projects. As of the fall of 2018, there are 82 solar companies in the state of Nevada as well as 6,564 solar jobs and as many as 30,207 solar installations.

Solar Power in Nevada

In 2017, Nevada’s state legislature passed laws allowing some of the state’s largest solar installation companies to return to doing business in the state. The law reinstated net metering for rooftop solar customers in the state. Previously, and for almost two years, companies like Tesla and Sunrun stopped soliciting new solar customers because of Nevada’s Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC) decision in 2015 to phase out incentives for homeowners who chose to install rooftop solar panels on their properties.

Nevada’s laws allow for solar customers to be reimbursed for excess energy generated at a percentage – albeit high – of the retail electricity rate. The purpose of the discounted rate is to ensure solar users pay their share to use the power grid as compared to non-solar customers. When it comes to solar, a homeowner still needs to be connected to a traditional power grid. Nevada’s law is the first in American history that gives consumers a statutory right to self-generate electricity.

Setting Up for Solar

If you or someone you know is interesting in setting up their home for solar power, there are several steps you need to take before switching over. This includes investigating your home’s energy efficiency, solar potential and limitations, options for solar energy, and estimating your solar electricity needs. Beyond this, you should obtain several bids and site assessments from solar contractors, understand the available financing options and monetary incentives, and work with your installer and utility company to set up the system.

If you have any legal questions regarding solar energy, or a personal injury matter, contact the skilled and experienced Las Vegas personal injury attorneys at  Parry & Pfau.

(image courtesy of The American Public Power Association)