Nevada Governor Vetoes Higher Renewable Portfolio Standard and Community Solar Incentive; Florida Governor Signs Tax Break for Renewable Equipment

While several states have recently enacted legislation focusing on renewable energy, last week Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval vetoed bills pertaining to Nevada’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) and incentives for community solar projects.

Assembly Bill 206 would have revised Nevada’s RPS from 25% by 2025 to 40% by 2030.  In his veto statement, Governor Sandoval expressed concerns with how the increased RPS might interact with other energy policies, particularly Nevada’s new net metering legislation, which was signed one day earlier. (A previous effort to amend the Nevada Constitution on the issue of net metering was invalidated by the Nevada Supreme Court.)  He also mentioned larger potential changes that could occur if Nevada citizens pass the Energy Choice Initiative to amend the Nevada Constitution.  Nevada’s Constitution requires citizens to pass a ballot initiative twice before it amends the state’s constitution, and the Energy Choice Initiative passed its first vote in 2016.

Citing similar concerns, Governor Sandoval vetoed legislation that would have established incentives for community solar development.  Nevada law already provides for incentives under the Solar Energy Systems Incentive Program, the Wind Energy Systems Demonstration Program, and the Waterpower Energy Systems Demonstration Program.  Senate Bill 392 would have combined these incentives into a single pool of money and authorized the Public Utility Commission of Nevada to provide incentives of up to $1,000,000 per year for systems that benefit low-income and moderate-income customers.  It also would have extended incentives to “community solar gardens,” which are defined as solar systems of less than 12 MW that are owned and operated by a subscriber organization.

Meanwhile, Florida Governor Rick Scott recently signed into law Senate Bill 90, which exempts solar and renewable energy devices and equipment from property taxes.  In August 2016, Florida voters approved a ballot initiative to amend the State Constitution to authorize the legislature to take this action.

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