Access to renewable energy sources, such as solar power, has historically been unevenly distributed across customer segments, leading to an opportunity to close a gap in service offerings as these sources of energy gain momentum due to technological advancements and environmental concerns. To increase the availability of solar power to low-income communities, CLEAResult, a leader in designing and implementing technology-enabled energy efficiency programs for utilities, worked with NV Energy, Nevada's largest utility, to complete the highly successful Lower Income Solar Energy Pilot Program. The program enabled low-income customers to benefit from solar.
The Nevada Legislature created the Lower Income Solar Energy Pilot Program in 2013, which allocated two megawatts of private solar projects to be installed for the benefit of low-income customers. NV Energy partnered with CLEAResult in early 2016 to implement and manage the second phase of the pilot project aimed at delivering one megawatt of solar energy to non-profit organizations serving lower-income communities.
"The project recipients will use the bill savings where it matters most, directly benefitting our low-income customers," said Jesse Murray, director of renewable energy programs at NV Energy. "NV Energy is proud of our renewable energy record and to see these systems further Nevada's sustainability efforts. We appreciate our partnership with CLEAResult in completing these projects."
The Lower Income Solar Energy Pilot Program also received funding assistance from the Nevada Governor's Office of Energy. This funding was targeted at installing micro inverter technology on the systems to reduce the maintenance costs over their service lifetime. Throughout the duration of the program, 15 solar photovoltaic systems were installed on a number of buildings for organizations serving children, veterans and families in need.
"NV Energy's leadership in the renewable energy space should be seen as a model for the state of Nevada and beyond," said Michele Negley, senior vice president at CLEAResult. "The low-income solar program is a perfect example of a utility taking initiative, and we're proud to partner with NV Energy to expand renewable energy access to additional customer segments."
The Lower Income Solar Energy Pilot Program, which also included a separate phase that delivered one megawatt of solar to local Title I schools, was part of the utility's RenewableGenerations program. Created by the Nevada Legislature in 2003 and funded by NV Energy's customers, the RenewableGenerations program was designed to spur the development of customer-based renewable energy in Nevada. To this day, the program helps fund a variety of renewable energy installations ranging from rooftop solar systems, wind turbines and hydro power installations.