Speeding up solar

New changes to the SolarGenerations program through NV Energy may require a bit more upfront work by applicants but are intended to reduce the time needed for construction to begin once an application is approved. On Jan. 27, the state Public Utilities Commission changed the process so that applicants need a contract in place with a contractor before they apply for the rebate. Then, if enough capacity is available, the applicant submits the contract and should be able to go to construction soon afterward, according to John Hargrove, NV Energy program manager for energy and conservation. The long wait from approval to construction has been frustrating for some consumers regarding the solar rebate program, under which 3.5 megawatts has been installed, mostly in Northern Nevada.

“Lots of people apply, but not a lot of people build, and this will help solve that,” said Hargrove. He views the change as a way to speed the solar energy market and “make it so that only people who are serious about wanting to do it get into it,” and keep others from hogging precious application slots—which last year were filled less than 30 minutes after the application process opened.