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Currently, this mechanism of shifting energy generation from daytime to nighttime using credits is what helps incentivize and fuel solar growth at the consumer level.The Nevada PUC ruling in late December 2015 unanimously approved a new tariff structure for solar customers (and later modified its ruling in February 2016).

As a result, many PV system owners may not even recoup their investment.This kind of government bait and switch is very harmful to consumer trust and industry sustainability, and further, strains the ability to add new industry-related legislation down the road for fear about its impermanence.One possible impact is to accelerate the end of net metering such as we’re seeing in Nevada right now, care of NV Energy and the Nevada Public Utilities Commission.The idea is that as solar costs continue to drop and project economics remain buoyed by the ITC, the case is stronger for utilities to claim losses and expenses as a result of increasing solar adoption.Late last year the Hawaii PUC similarly voted to end net metering for Hawaii Electric Company’s (HECO) solar generating customers.

The related issues behind this vote were decidedly a bit more complex than in Nevada due to the uniquely high solar penetration Hawaii is experiencing (as of October 2015, roughly 16% of HECO Companies customers were generating power with grid-connected solar the capacity of which amounted to about 35% penetration on the system peaks[2].Utility-scale wind projects continue to be eligible to claim the ITC in lieu of the PTC as long as the PTC is in effect.Now that the solar energy industry is no longer peering anxiously into the abyss of a world without the ITC, we can start thinking about the type of ancillary effects this extension might have.While the examples of Nevada and Hawaii are strikingly different from each other, they represent a potential sea change that could be seen in many other states as utilities continue the push to recapture revenues lost to solar generation and grid planning costs associated with preparing for higher circuit penetration rates on their lines.So far in solar’s journey, net metering has been the secret sauce for many sectors that makes the generation profile of solar make economic sense.The same legislation saved the Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC), and the solar energy industry, from certain doom.