Who Owns the Sun? Buffet vs. Musk of Tesla


First, NV Energy deployed its lobbyists to limit the total amount of energy homeowners and small businesses were allowed to generate to 3 percent of peak capacity for all utilities. Then it expertly argued its case before regulators, who rewrote the rules for net-metering customers. In December it scored a major win: Nevada’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) imposed rules that not only make it more expensive to go solar, but also make it uneconomical for those who’ve already signed up. Similar regulatory skirmishes are playing out in dozens of other states, but no other has gone as far as Nevada to undermine homeowners who’ve already installed solar arrays.

All this has enraged independent, free-market, and environmentally conscious Nevadans. All day on Jan. 13 people enter the hearing room to give the sole commissioner an earful. (Two more commissioners are piped in via video from Carson City, where the hearing is happening simultaneously.) The bureaucrats sit blankly behind their desks as employees from SolarCity and a competitor, Sunrun, explain that they’d been let go because the commission’s recent ruling killed their companies’ business in the state. Some of the roughly 18,000 customers who have already put solar panels on their roofs say the officials have rigged the game against the players. One homeowner threatens a $1 billion class-action lawsuit. Another compares NV Energy to King George III.  (by Noah Buhayar, Bloomberg)