SolarCity plans layoffs in Nevada after state PUC decision

SolarCity rooftop solar install PEPWR

SolarCity it will eliminate more than 550 jobs in Nevada because of a ruling by that state’s Public Utilities Commission that will “punish” the rooftop solar industry.

SolarCity said in a news release that the PUC’s December decision on net metering will effectively punish solar power customers after a rebate program had encouraged them to go solar.

The non-utility solar power company is also closing a training center in West Las Vegas that it opened only a month before. The company also said that the Nevada Bureau of Consumer Protection is filing a motion to halt implementation of the PUC ruling.

The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada voted 3-to-0 on Dec. 22 to approve a draft order proposed by Commissioner David Noble implementing new rates for NV Energy customers who participate in net energy metering.

SolarCity and other third-party solar companies have claimed that the PUC decision largely benefits NV Energy and its corporate parent, Berkshire Hathaway Energy.

The measure represents the commission’s effort to implement Senate Bill 374. The measure from the state legislature instructed the PUCN to examine rates applicable to net metering customers and to identify and eliminate any “unreasonable shifts in costs from net metering customers to other customers,” according to the Nevada PUC.

SolarCity's CEO Lyndon Rive hopes to personally express the company’s displeasure to Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R).

"I contacted Governor Sandoval multiple times after the ruling because I am convinced that he and the PUC didn't fully understand the consequences of this decision, not only on the thousands of local jobs distributed solar has created, but on the 17,000 Nevadans that installed solar with the state's encouragement," Rive said.

"I'm still waiting to speak to the governor but I am convinced that once he and the Commissioners understand the real impact, that they will do the right thing," Rive said.

In a Dec. 23 statement, Sandoval said the PUC action should not come as a surprise to the rooftop solar industry. The governor also said that critics of the decision can always appeal the measure.

“The rooftop solar industry has known for months that the Public Utilities Commission was tasked by the legislature to review the net metering rates in Nevada by the end of the year,” Sandoval said. “Indeed, the solar industry, including Lyndon Rive, CEO of Solar City, testified in support of the legislation that established this process. The companies also know that if they disagree with the PUC's decision, that they can seek reconsideration and ultimately judicial review,” the governor said.

“Instead, they have attempted to pressure my office to improperly influence the PUC's independent decision making process and resorted to bullying tactics such as threatening mass layoffs of Nevadans,” Sandoval said.

Sandoval went on to say that he supports solar power in the state and more than $5bn in renewable projects have been installed in Nevada in recent years. “However, the state must also strike a balance between helping to develop the solar industry which I believe has tremendous potential while ensuring just and reasonable energy rates for all Nevadans,” the governor said.

SolarCity announced Dec. 23 that as a result of the PUC decision, it had to cease solar sales and installation in the state effective immediately.

"Telling employees they can no longer work for SolarCity is the hardest thing we've ever done," continued Rive. "These are hard-working Nevadans and a single government action has put them out of work. This is not how government is supposed to work."

Did You Like this Article? Get All the Energy Industry News Delivered to Your Inbox

Subscribe to an email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest news and information.

 Subscribe Now


Making DDoS Mitigation Part of Your Incident Response Plan: Critical Steps and Best Practices

Like a new virulent strain of flu, the impact of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack is...

The Multi-Tax Challenge of Managing Excise Tax and Sales Tax

To be able to accurately calculate multiple tax types, companies must be prepared to continually ...

Operational Analytics in the Power Industry

Cloud computing, smart grids, and other technologies are changing transmission and distribution. ...

Maximizing Operational Excellence

In a recent survey conducted by PennEnergy Research, 70% of surveyed energy industry professional...

Latest Energy Jobs

View more Job Listings >>

Archived Articles

PennEnergy Articles
2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013

OGJ Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

OGFJ Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

Power Engineering Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

Power Engineering Intl Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

Utility Products Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

HydroWorld Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

COSPP Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

ELP Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013