Nevada’s abundant natural sunlight makes it a great location for solar power. The sunny state has over 64,000 certified solar installations, with a total installed capacity of over 3,800 MW. 14.7% of the state’s total power needs is also supplied by solar, equivalent to enough power for over 667,000 homes. These figures are set to grow as well: Across the next 5 years, Nevada’s planned solar installations will increase its total solar capacity by 110% to more than 8,000 MW, if everything goes to plan.
The incredible growth of Nevada’s solar industry has boosted the state’s position from 15th to 6th in the National Solar Ranking of all US states in just a single year alone, from 2020 to 2021. Nevada is also home to the massive Gemini Solar Project, a solar utility plant set to become one of the largest solar installation in the U.S. once the project fully comes online in 2021, with an installed capacity of 690 MW.
What you should know about Solar Energy in Nevada
The Nevada electrical grid is operated by one main electric utility, NV Energy, along with several rural electric utilities. NV Energy provides electricity for over 2.4 million customers across its huge service area of 44,000 square miles. The remaining regions of the Nevada electrical grid is operated by several rural electric utilities, with each rural utility assigned its own service area.
Electricity rates in Nevada are regulated by legislation, and has an average cost of 12¢/kWh, 7% lower than the national average. Since homeowners in the state consume on average 890 kWh per month, approximately equivalent to the national average consumption rate, the typical monthly electricity bill in Nevada is also around 7% lower than the national average at $106.83.
However, much of Nevada’s cheap electricity is generated from sources which carry a heavy environmental cost. The state consumes a massive 35.2 TWh of electricity each year, and 73% of this power comes from natural gas plants while 12% is generated from coal. Both forms of power generation are extremely polluting, and produces large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions.
Considering that Nevada has the greatest solar potential out of all US states, it makes sense for solar energy to become one of the main sources of renewable electricity in the state in the mid or long term. You can already see this transition happening today: some of the largest solar plants in the country like the SEGS project, Desert Sunlight Solar Farm, Copper Mountain Solar Facility, and the Gemini Solar Project have been built in Nevada in recent years, with even more solar projects planned in the state’s energy pipeline.
Is it worth going solar in Nevada?
Nevada’s incredible solar potential makes going solar a safe bet for Nevada homeowners. Rooftop solar panels are able to generate power for many hours each day, offsetting most of or even your entire electrical bill depending on your household consumption and the capacity of your solar system. This is also the reason why major corporations like Apple have begun installing solar for their Nevada facilities, allowing these companies to save on power costs and reap the green benefits of solar power.
Nevada homeowners consume an average of 10,680 kWh of electricity a year. By installing a medium-sized solar PV system of 5 kW DC capacity on your rooftop, you can produce up to 8,178 kWh of electricity a year in the state, offsetting around 70% of your total electrical bill. A 6.5 kW DC rooftop solar generation system or larger would be necessary if you want to offset your entire electrical bill, with the exact size dependent on your household power consumption and how suitable your rooftop is for generating solar power.
A rooftop solar PV system with 6.5 kW DC capacity can end up costing around $16,965 in Nevada, but this is before solar incentives are applied. This cost can be reduced down to $12,554 after taking into account the federal Solar Investment Tax Credit available for the entire US. Taking into account Nevada’s electricity rates, the payback period for a solar system this size would be around 8 to 10 years going by this reduced cost.
Nevada homeowners end up paying up to $1,281 a year in power bills. Considering that residential solar energy systems have a lifespan of approximately 25 years, installing a 6.5kW DC PV system can save you up to $32,025 in electrical bills, which is a full 2.5 times the cost of your photovoltaic (PV) system! This means that going solar in Nevada allows you to fully recoup the costs of your PV system in only 8-10 years, and save an additional $19,000 on top of that during the lifespan of your system.
Not only does going solar help save the environment, Nevada’s incredible solar potential also means that you can very possibly cut down significantly on your current electricity bill by installing solar. Keep in mind that the above figures are only estimates however, and the exact cost and amount of power your solar PV system can generate is dependent on other individual factors.
There is no moment like the present to install solar for your Nevada home or business and enjoy the generous solar incentives available. One of the best solar incentives in Nevada right now is the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit, which grants you a federal income tax credit equal to 26% of your residential solar PV installation costs. This incentive would be reduced to 22% by 2023 and removed entirely by 2024, which is why we recommend going solar before the end of 2022.
How much energy will your solar system generate?
Nevada has the highest solar potential in the US. According to data from NREL, the state enjoys solar radiation levels of 3.32 – 7.85 kilowatt-hours per square meter a day depending on your exact geographical location and the time of year. These radiation levels, coupled with a sun index of 1.19, mean that Nevada is ranked 1st in the US Solar Power Potential Ranking.
These solar radiation levels in Nevada translate into an average of 4.22 – 4.55 hours of full power generation at maximum efficiency for your home solar panels. Under these conditions, your 6.5 kW DC solar system can generate as much as 10,700 kWh per year in AC energy, offsetting between 90% and 100% of your monthly power bill.
Nevada also has a Net Metering (NEM) program that grants you credits for the excess power generation of your PV system, allowing you to offset or entirely even electrical bills in months with a lower generation to consumption rate. This means that power generated by your PV system during months with stronger sunlight are still able to compensate for your electricity use during the winter months with weaker sun.
Solar power generation in Nevada has the potential to provide you with incredible savings each year due to all of these great conditions. With a rooftop solar system 6.5 kW DC in capacity and accounting for average electricity bills of $106.83, you can easily save up to $1,281.96 per year in utility fees.
Payment options for your PV system in Nevada
There are several payment options available for Nevada homeowners looking to go solar. However, only some of these options would allow you to remain eligible for the various solar incentives available in Nevada. To help you choose the best financing option for your needs, we break down each of the payment options available for PV systems in Nevada below.
- Solar purchase/cash: The simplest and most straightforward option is to pay for your PV system upfront in cash. By doing so, you make yourself fully eligible for all the federal and local solar incentives in Nevada which require you to own your own solar PV system.
- Solar loan: A solar loan is a convenient option for homeowners are looking to finance their PV systems and pay off the investment across a period of time. Doing so would allow you to own a PV system right from the start, without needing to pay off the investment all at once. Solar loans might be offered by some solar companies or financial institutions, and we recommend comparing a few different options to find one which best suits your needs.
- Solar leasing: Solar leases are agreements where you pay a fixed monthly amount for the right to use electricity from a PV system that you do not own. Note that since you are only “renting” out a PV system, you would be ineligible for most federal or state solar incentives that are targeted at PV system owners.
- Solar Power Purchase Agreement (Solar PPA): A solar PPA is similar to the agreement between you and a standard utility company. You simply pay for how much solar energy you use a month at fixed rates. Again, since you do not actually own a PV system with under a PPA, you would not be eligible for most federal or state solar incentives.
What are the solar incentives in Nevada?
There are many state and federal solar incentives available for Nevada residents. These programs can reduce the overall cost of rooftop solar generation systems, among other benefits. We break down some of the most important incentives below, but make sure to ask your solar installer for a full list of all incentives available in your region of Nevada!
Federal Solar Tax Credit (Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit)
The federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is one of the most generous solar incentives available in Nevada. This incentive decreases the cost of your rooftop solar system by up to 26%, by awarding you with a federal income tax credit equal to 26% of your solar installation costs. If this incentive is greater than your income tax liability that year, the credit can even be carried forward into following years. This incentive will be reduced to 22% by 2022, and disappear entirely by 2024 for residential installers.
Like we described above, applying this incentive means that the average cost of a 6.5kW capacity PV system drops from $16,965 to only $12,554 in Nevada. That’s a direct $3,264 reduction in the cost you pay out of your pocket for solar!
Solar Access Rights
Similar to many other states, Nevada has adopted Solar and Wind Easements & Rights Laws which protect the rights of home and property owners to install solar. Under this law, no contract or legal document is allowed to prohibit homeowners from installing solar PV systems for their homes.
Solar Generations Rebate Program
Utility customers of NV Energy can apply for the NV Energy – Clean Energy Incentive Program. This is a local solar incentive which grants you a rebate for installing a solar energy system. The rebate amount varies depending on the exact capacity of your PV system.
For residential systems with less than 25 kW of capacity, you can apply for an upfront incentive of $0.20 for each installed watt. For larger systems with a capacity between 25 kW and 500 kW, you are instead eligible for a performance-based incentive, where NV Energy would pay you $0.025 for each kWh of power produced.
NV Net Metering program
Depending on which electric utility you are a customer of, you might be eligible for the NV Energy Net Metering program or the Valley Electric Association Net Metering program. These programs are slightly different and exclusive to the respective customers of each utility.
NV Energy Net Metering program
The NV Energy Net Metering program is the more generous of the two programs. This scheme allows you to sell the excess energy generated by your rooftop solar generation system back to the utility at 75% of the retail rate, if your PV system has a capacity of 25 kW DC or less. PV systems with larger capacity than that can sell excess electricity at the full 100% retail rate. These credits are used to offset your future utility bills, and any excess credits you have at the end of the billing year will be carried over indefinitely to the next billing period.
Valley Electric Association Net Metering program
The Valley Electric Association Net Metering program allows the utility’s customers to sell excess generated solar power to the grid at 75% of the retail rate, and receive credits that will be applied to future electrical bills. The main difference between this program and the NV Energy Metering program described above is that all unused excess credits at the end of the billing year will expire.
Best Solar Companies in Nevada: Our top choices
It’s important to choose the right company when going solar in Nevada. A great solar company would use top-quality solar products in their installations and back up their work with a thorough warranty. To help you choose a great solar company, we’ve compiled a list of our top choices for solar companies in Nevada below, using the following criteria.
- Reputation and Customer Satisfaction – We compared customer reviews to pick out solar companies with a history of doing great work for their clients.
- Experience with solar projects – We looked at factors like how long a company has been in business, how many projects they’ve undertaken and the types of solar installations they’re most specialized in
- Product brands and quality – We looked at which products and brands each solar company carries.
- Manufacturer partnerships, certifications and licensing – Partnerships with top solar manufacturers and certifications from organizations such as NABCEP lend extra credibility to a solar company’s expertise.
- Type of warranty offered – Finally, we considered the different warranties offered by each solar company.
Elevation Solar is a solar installer focused on providing excellent customer service. In addition to installing PV systems for customers, the company is also able to carry out energy audits for your home and optimize your home energy use.
Elevation Solar is headquartered in Arizona, though the company also has office locations in California, Texas, Florida and, or course, Nevada. Their service area covers eight different US states, including the five listed above and the states of North Carolina, South Carolina and Utah.
Licensing and Certification
Elevation Solar holds an Electrical Contractor license for Nevada, allowing it to also carry out solar PV installation work. The company also employs NABCEP-certified PV Installation Professionals.
Elevation Solar was founded in 2014 by two friends Brian Blair and Jerry Coleman, two homeowners frustrated by how high their utility bills were. The company employs a two-pronged approach to helping Nevada residents save on power bills: in addition to installing rooftop PV systems able to generate cheap renewable electricity, the installer is also able to carry out energy audits of customer homes, directly reducing household electricity use by finding and fixing inefficiencies.
Elevation Solar was awarded the Energy Star Contractor of the Year award in 2021. and the company uses high-quality products from top solar brands such as Enphase Energy, IronRidge, Panasonic, LG Solar and Tesla.
Elevation Solar has received generally positive online reviews. They have a high 4.4-star rating on Google for their Nevada office, based on 271 total reviews. The company also has an above-average 4.03 rating on Solar Reviews, after 139 customer reviews.
Elevation Solar is also accredited with an A+ on the BBB, but the company only has a 3.56-rating on Solar Reviews after 81 customer reviews. Many complaints came from customers upset that Elevation Solar installed PV systems too small to completely offset their electricity use. Elevation Solar has responded to each complaint, and state that in many cases they’ve already installed the maximum number of solar panels allowed for one property by Nevada Energy.
Sol-Up Inc. is a leading Nevada-based solar installer focused on using the latest solar products and technology to build highly-efficient residential PV systems. The company is also the only certified Panasonic Installer Installer in Nevada.
Sol-Up is headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada. They primarily serve customers in this city and the surrounding regions of Nevada.
Certification and Licensing
Sol-Up holds the required Electrical Contractor license for Nevada, and the company also employs NABCEP-certified PV Installation Professionals.
Founded in 2009, Sol-Up has a grand goal of making Nevada the “solar capital of the world”, and is devoted to always providing customers with the latest and most efficient solar energy products. As a certified Pnasonic installation partner, the company offers 25-year product, performance and labor warranties for any Panasonic solar panels they install.
Sol-Up also boasts the only solar showroom in Las Vegas, where the company showcases a fully-installed solar PV system, along with the other solar products that the company uses.
Sol-Up is one of the highest-rated solar installers in Nevada on Solar Reviews, where the company holds a 4.82-star rating after 108 reviews. They also have a perfect 5.0-star Google rating with 253 total reviews.
Sol-Up is accredited on the BBB as well, and have received an A+ rating on the site. 3 customer complaints have been logged against the company on the site, but each has been addressed in detail and 2 marked as resolved.
Intermountain Wind and Solar
Intermountain Wind and Solar specializes in both residential and commercial solar PV installations across multiple different states, including in Nevada. The company has more than 13 years of experience in the solar industry, and have worked on more than 5,000 solar PV systems for their satisfied customers.
Intermountain Wind and Solar has their corporate headquarters in Utah, but the installer also has office locations in the states of Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon and Nevada. They can help customers across all five of these states install solar.
Certification and Licensing
Intermountain Wind and Solar holds an Electrical Contractor license for Nevada. They also employs NABCEP-certified PV Installation Professionals.
Founded in 2008, Intermountain Wind and Solar is a Utah-based solar installer experienced with residential, commercial and battery-connected PV installations. The company has installed more than 150,000 solar panels from top brands such as LG and Sunpower for over 5,000 customers, and even employs its own in-house roofing team to carry out the roofing renovations often necessary for rooftop solar work.
Intermountain Wind and Solar is also a certified Enphase Platinum Installer and LG Pro Platinum Installer, and works closely with these top solar companies to carry out high-quality installations of their products.
Intermountain Wind and Solar hold an impressive 4.7-star rating on both Google and Facebook for their main Utah office, after 277 and 59 reviews respectively. The company also boasts a high 4.58-star rating on Solar Reviews based on 177 customer reviews.
Intermountain is accredited on the BBB with an A+ as well. Many customers have praised the company online for being professional, easy to work with and for providing great communication throughout the installation process.
Universal Solar Direct Las Vegas
Universal Solar Direct is a multi-state residential and commercial solar PV installer committed to helping their customers become energy independent.
Universal Solar Direct was initially founded in Las Vegas, Nevada, but has since expanded into the states of Arizona, Indiana, Florida and Utah. In Nevada, the solar installer is able to serve customers in Las Vegas and all throughout Clark County.
Licensing and Certifications
Universal Solar Direct holds an Electrical Contractor license in Nevada. The company does not currently appear to have any NABCEP-certified installers, however.
Universal Direct Solar was only recently founded in 2015, but the company has since quickly expanded from Nevada into multiple other US states. The company is capable of installing rooftop solar as quickly as within a single day, and each of their installed PV systems come with 24/7 monitoring, allowing you to check how much electricity each of your installed solar panels are producing at all times.
The company is also a partnered installer of top solar brands such as LG, Enphase and Solar Edge.
Universal Direct Solar has received many positive reviews for its Las Vegas headquarters on Google, where it holds a 4.5-star rating after 99 reviews. The company also has a good 4-star rating on Yelp with 40 reviews.
Universal Direct Solar has only an average 3.5-star rating on Solar Reviews, however, and the company has received 7 complaints on the BB, of which 3 have been resolved. These complaints covered a variety of different issues, though Universal Direct Solar has addressed each complaint in detail and offered to make reasonable amends.
Kota Energy Group
Founded in 2017, Kota Energy Group is a relative newcomer to the solar industry. Nevertheless, the company has quickly become of the leading residential PV installers in the United States, with operations across more than ten US states.
Kota Energy Group is based out of California, and the company also has an office location in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Their website states that the company can help customers install solar in eleven US states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, Texas and Utah. Online reviews indicate that most of the company’s customers are from California and Nevada, however.
Licensing and Certification
Kota Energy Group holds an Electrical Contractor license for Nevada. The company does not appear to have any NABCEP-certified professionals on staff at the moment.
Kota Energy Group has a goal of educating their customers and delivering high efficiency, aesthetically-beautiful rooftop solar PV systems. They exclusively use pure black Solaria solar modules, and each of their installed systems also come with 25-year workmanship, roof penetration and product warranties.
The company offers customers a wide range of financing options for home PV systems as well, including solar PPAs and $0 down solar loans.
Kota Energy Group is one of the highest-rated solar companies in California and Nevada on Solar Reviews, where the company holds a 4.85-star rating after 87 reviews. The company’s Nevada location also has a good 4.2-star rating on Google, with 60 total reviews, and their Facebook page boasts a 4.7-star rating based on 23 opinions.
Kota Energy Group does have a lower 3.87-star customer rating on the BBB, though keep in mind that they have also only received 7 reviews on the site. Many customers commended the company for having professional and knowledgeable salesmen.
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