Nevada is a strong contender in the solar industry. This state has over 64,000 certified solar installations with an installed capacity of 3,871.68 MW and produces enough solar energy to supply 14.70% of its power needs which is the same as powering over 667,000 homes. In the next 5 years, Nevada will increase its total solar capacity by 111.73%, to achieve a goal of 8,107.7 MW in solar generation systems.
This state has acquired incredible achievements in the last 5 years for the U.S. solar industry. From 2020 to 2021 alone, Nevada moved up its position from 12th to 6th best state in the Solar National Ranking. One of the most impressive achievements for Nevada is the Gemini Solar Project, a solar farm that will become the largest solar installation in the U.S. with an installed capacity of 690 MW.
What you should know about Solar Energy in Nevada
The Nevada electrical grid is operated by one main electric utility which is NV Energy and several rural electric utilities. NV Energy provides electricity for over 2.4 million customers in a service area of 44,000 square miles. The rest of the Nevada electrical grid is operated by several rural electric utilities, with each rural utility having a predefined service area.
Having regulated rates, electricity in Nevada has an average cost of 12 ¢/kWh, this is 7% less than the national average. Since homeowners consume on average 890 kWh per month and this is practically the same as the national, with lower rates than the average for electricity, a monthly bill in Nevada costs around $106.83.
Even though Nevada has electricity rates similar to the U.S. average, it is important to consider the origin of this electric power. In a state consuming 35.2 TWh in electric power, 73% of its power comes from Natural Gas plants and 12% is generated in coal power. Both forms of power generation have heavy impacts on the environment by producing greenhouse gas emissions.
Considering that Nevada has the greatest potential in the whole country to generate solar power, it makes sense to consider solar energy as one of the main sources of renewable electricity in the state for the mid and long term. This is why Nevada has been opting to install some of the largest solar farms in the country like the SEGS, Desert Sunlight Solar Farm, Copper Mountain Solar Facility, and even Gemini Solar Project.
Is it worth going solar in Nevada?
With the best sun index in the whole country, going solar is a safe bet for Nevada homeowners. Rooftop solar panels are sure to generate hours of power and offset most or your entire electrical bill, depending on your household consumption and size of your solar system. This is also the reason why alongside homeowners, major corporations like Apple have decided to go solar and enjoy all the benefits of solar power.
Nevada homeowners consume on average up to 10,680 kWh a year. With a regular solar system of 5 kW DC installed at your rooftop, your home can produce up to 8,178 kWh a year, offsetting around 70% of your electrical bill. To offset entirely this electrical bill, you might need to install a 6.5 kW DC rooftop solar generation system or a bigger one, varying on your consumption.
A rooftop solar PV system of 6.5 kW DC for a homeowner in Nevada can end up costing around $16,965 before solar incentives. This price can be reduced down to $12,554 after applying for the Federal Personal Tax Credit. With this price and the Nevada electricity rates, the payback period for a solar system this size is set around 8 to 10 years.
With the electricity rates in Nevada, homeowners end up paying up to $1,281 a year in electric power. Since solar systems have a lifespan of around 25 years, during this period you can save up to $32,025 in electrical bills, which is 2.5 times the cost of your photovoltaic (PV) system. This means that if you go solar in Nevada, you can enjoy a full payback for the PV system and save an additional $19,000 during the lifespan of your PV system.
If helping the environment is not a good enough reason to go solar, just consider the annual savings that you will have with a rooftop solar generation system in the best state to generate solar power.
There is no moment like the present to go solar and enjoy the solar incentives. The best incentive in Nevada is the Federal Personal Tax Credit, which grants you a 26% reduction of the overall cost of your rooftop solar generation system against your income taxes. This incentive is reduced to 22% by 2023 and dropped out entirely by 2024, which is why 2021 or 2022 are the best years to go solar.
How much energy will your solar system generate?
Nevada is the best state to have a rooftop solar generation system. According to NREL, this state has solar radiation levels of 3.32 – 7.85 kilowatt-hours per square meter a day depending on the geographical location and month of the year. With these radiation levels and a sun index of 1.19, Nevada is ranked as the 1st state in the Solar Power Potential Ranking.
These solar radiation levels in Nevada can be easily translated for your rooftop PV system as an average of 4.22 – 4.55 hours of solar power generation at full radiation and maximum efficiency. With the Nevada radiation levels, your 6.5 kW DC solar system can generate as much as 10,700 kWh per year in AC energy, offsetting from 90% up to 100% of your monthly bills.
If you are worried about months with bad weather where radiation levels are slightly lower than others, there is nothing to be concerned about. Nevada has a Net Metering (NEM) program that grants you credits for the excess power generation of your PV system, allowing you to offset or entirely even electrical bills in months with a lower generation to consumption rate.
With the best sun index in the country, solar power generation in Nevada provides incredible yearly savings. With a rooftop solar system this size and average bills of $106.83, you can easily save up to $1,281.96 per year in electric power.
Payment options for your PV system in Nevada
There are several payment options available for Nevada homeowners that are considering going solar. Some of these options grant you all of the solar incentives which greatly reduce the overall cost of your rooftop solar generation system. To help you choose the best option for you, we will break down each of the payment options available for PV systems in Nevada.
- Solar purchase/cash: The simplest and most straightforward option to buy your PV system is with a cash solar purchase. By paying in cash, you completely own your rooftop solar generation system and are fully eligible for all the federal and local solar incentives in Nevada.
- Solar loan: The Solar Loan is the best option for homeowners who are looking to finance their PV systems, allowing them to fully own the system and be eligible for solar incentives. You may acquire the loan through your selected solar company or a financial institution, we recommend you to look for the best interest rates so you can pay your solar system in affordable installments.
- Solar leasing: Solar leasing is the best option to enjoy solar energy without doing any up-front payment for your PV system. With this option, you do not own the PV system but pay the solar company a fixed rate for the solar panels. This option does not make you eligible for most federal nor local solar incentives.
- Solar Power Purchase Agreement (Solar PPA): The Solar PPA is a payment option similar to solar leasing. The main difference is that with the Solar PPA, you only pay the solar company for the energy you consume at a better rate than your current electric utility. With this payment option, you are not eligible for solar incentives, since you do not own the PV system.
What are the solar incentives in Nevada?
One of the best things when going solar, are the several benefits that the US and Nevada grant homeowners through solar incentives. This reduces the overall cost of rooftop solar generation systems and grants you other benefits. So you can fully know and understand these incentives, we will break down each one of the federal and local solar incentives active in Nevada for residential owners of PV systems.
Federal Solar Tax Credit (Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit)
The Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit, previously known as Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is one of the most financially attractive solar incentives. This incentive grants you a 26% dollar-to-dollar reduction over the cost of your rooftop solar system (installation included) against your federal tax liability. If the incentive surpasses your tax liability, you can just carry the amount forward for the next years. This incentive will be reduced to 22% by 2022 and will be dropped out entirely by 2024 for the residential sector.
So you can further understand this incentive, we are going to apply it to the 6.5 kW DC rooftop solar generation system. The average price for this system is $16,965, meaning that you will get a $3,264 reduction of the solar system against your federal tax liability and the real cost will only be $12,554.
Solar Access Rights
To ensure that every Nevada homeowner and citizen has a right to install solar panels at their homes, the state has the Solar and Wind Easements & Rights Laws. With this law, there is no contract or legal document that can prohibit homeowners to install solar generation systems in their homes.
Solar Generations Rebate Program
If you are a client of NV Energy, you can apply to the NV Energy – Clean Energy Incentive Program. This is a local solar incentive that grants you a rebate over the money spent on your solar system, depending on the AC power that your system produces.
For residential systems that generate less than 25 kW, you get an incentive of $0.20 for each Watt. In the case of systems generating more than 25 kW up to 500 kW, you get an incentive of %0.025 for each kWh produced.
NV Net Metering program
Depending on your electric utility, you might be eligible for the NV Energy Net Metering or the Valley Electric Association Net Metering. These programs are slightly different and apply to respective customers of each utility.
NV Energy Net Metering program
The NV Energy Net Metering program is the best in the state. This program allows you to sell the excess energy generated by your rooftop solar generation system at 75% of the retail rate for installed systems of 25 kW DC or less. For bigger systems, you get credits at 100% of the rates. Any excess credits you have at the end of the metering year will be carried out indefinitely for future bills.
Valley Electric Association Net Metering program
The Valley Electric Association Net Metering program allows customers of this utility to sell the excess generated solar power to the grid at 75% of the retail rates, and receive credits that will be applied to future monthly electrical bills. The main difference from the NV Energy Metering program is that all excess credits at the end of the metering year each September 30, will be lost.
Best Solar Companies in Nevada: Our top choices
When going solar in Nevada, you must choose the right company. They will provide you with solar products install them and provide you with a warranty liability for their work. To help you choose your solar company, we compiled a list of our top choices for solar companies in the state, using the following criteria.
- Reputation and client satisfaction with the result – We analyzed certified reviews to ensure each company has a good reputation and clients felt satisfied with the results.
- Performed solar projects – To ensure a company has the best experience, we looked into the quantity and type of solar projects they performed, focusing on the outcome.
- Product brands and quality – Another important factor to consider in a solar company is the type of solar products they use, their brands, and the overall quality of each.
- Partnerships and certifications – To ensure quality and experience, we looked into the partnership and certifications of each company.
- Type and time of warranty – Finally, the warranty provided by each company and its policies are an important factor to consider, since each company must have liability for their performed work.
Elevation is one of the best companies providing solar installations in Nevada. It was established in 2014 and has been rapidly growing since, acquiring all kinds of solar projects with outstanding results, always focusing on customer satisfaction. In 2021, Elevation won the Energy Star Contractor of the Year award.
The company provides auditing services, energy usage optimization, PV panel installations, general contracting, solar contracting, and solar panels repair & maintenance. This company works alongside excellent quality products from brands like Enphase Energy, IronRidge, Panasonic, LG Solar, SolarEdge Technologies, REC, Q CELLS, CURB, and Tesla.
Sol-Up Inc. is one of the premier solar installers in the state of Nevada. The company was founded in 2009. Since its beginnings, Sol-Up Inc. has been looking to use the latest and most advanced solar technology to provide clients with the latest experience in solar generation and excellent customer service.
Sol-Up Inc. is focused on the installation of PV systems with custom energy storage systems. When going solar in Nevada with Sol-Up Inc., you might enjoy several solar products from quality brands like Enphase Energy, Panasonic, SolarEdge Technologies, Quick Mount PV, Tesla, and Sunpreme.
Intermountain Wind and Solar is a solar company established in 2008, providing quality solar installations in the state of Nevada. The company has performed all types of residential and commercial solar installations with satisfying results for the customers.
The company provides excellent solar installations in bulk packages and has a great power generation monitoring service. Among the manufacturer partnerships and certifications, this company has the REC solar professional certification, the LG Pro platinum installer, and the Enphase Platinum Installer. This company provides solar products from brands like LG, Enphase, SMA, SunPower, and Tesla.
Nevada Solar Group is a solar installer established in 2012, providing quality PV installations in several states, including Nevada. This company has several years of experience installing solar panels in all types of roofs with satisfying results and providing great warranties for clients and their solar installations.
This company provides PV system installations, roofing, electrical contracting, and repair & maintenance services for solar panels. If you go solar with this company, you might choose quality solar products from popular brands like SunPower Corporation, Enphase Energy, SolarWorld, Unirac, Inc., Canadian Solar Inc., IronRidge, Panasonic, LG Solar, SolarEdge Technologies, Hyundai, Hanwha SolarOne, and Quick Mount PV.
Kota Energy Group is a solar installer established in 2017, working in several states alongside Nevada. This company has a deep focus on using the latest technology and providing aesthetic installations, looking to satisfy the needs of clients for their home rooftop solar generation systems.
Among the services provided by the company, you might opt for PV installations, roofing, installations of community solar systems, and a repair & maintenance service for solar panels. Kota Energy Group performs quality installations with Solaria solar panels for the generation system and LG Pro backup batteries for the energy storage system.
Del Sol Energy is a solar installer company established in 2013, providing services both in the northern and suther regions of Nevada. When performing an installation, the company looks to balance between practical & smart locations for the installations and an optimal level of radiation to increase PV system production.
This company is the whole package since they offer services of PV system installations, energy auditing, roofing, electrical contracting, installing of community solar systems, and more. When going solar with Del Sol Energy, you may acquire products from brands like SunPower Corporation, Enphase Energy, Canadian Solar Inc., Panasonic, LG Solar, SolarEdge Technologies, Silfab Solar, Q CELLS, and Solaria.