There was a big ceremony at Town Square as SolarCity — a company that installs rooftop solar panels at homes, businesses and government buildings — opened its new Las Vegas office with the help of a $1.2 million grant from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. It was in all the papers.
The company says it has hired about 130 employees so far and with plans to double its work force each year.
There was no mention of how of those jobs were cherry picked from the half dozen companies in Las Vegas that already perform the same work and have been paying taxes here for decades.
But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Gov. Brian Sandoval and U.S. Rep. Joe Heck, Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick, Assemblyman David Bobzien and state Sens. Ruben Kihuen, Kelvin Atkinson, Michael Roberson and County Commissioner Steve Sisolak were on hand.
But does the right know what the left hand is doing?
No one mentioned the fact the Public Utilities Commission recently approved an NV Energy plan to slash the state’s solar panel rebates for schools and public buildings to just $1 per watt, according to Patrick McCully, executive director of Black Rock Solar, a company that does solar installations, writing in the Reno Gazette-Journal. Rebates had been as high as $5 per watt for “public buildings” and $4 per watt for homes. Homes and businesses now may qualify for a 30 percent federal solar tax credit.
McCully writes that NV Energy is now proposing rebates be cut to just 8.6 cents per watt. “For the case of a typical-sized solar project at a public school in rural Nevada, it would take about 45 years to pay off the cost of the array,” he writes, without mentioning that the panels typically last about 25 years.
Such cuts, he says, will destroy the financial viability of most installations.
Welcome to Nevada, SolarCity, hold on to your wallet.