Festival Snobs

Las Vegas Is Betting Big on Solar Energy

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Lined up solar panels

As the state focuses more on solar energy, residents are also turning to the sun for their daily power needs. Transitioning to 100 percent solar is possible and residents — with the help of the many solar companies in Vegas — can make that reality happen sooner.

Sin City Is Going Green

All of Las Vegas’ government buildings are powered by clean energy; more than 140 buildings rely on geothermal, hydro, wind, and solar energy. Clean energy also powers the city’s 45,000 street lights. Though the city wants to transition from traditional power generation to clean energy, the electrical needs of most corporations are just too big.

Casinos, resorts, and stadiums have chosen to leave NV Energy, the State’s utility monopoly, even if they had to pay hefty exit fees. Solar energy is seen as one of the most viable sources of clean energy in Las Vegas, especially since the technology is continually evolving. The price of solar panels has consistently been going down, even as they are becoming more and more efficient in harnessing the power of the sun.

Encouraging Homes to Go Solar

Solar panels on the roofThe State is giving residents tax exemptions for installing solar energy panels on their property. The federal Solar Investment Tax Credit will provide residents a 30 percent tax credit on all residential projects that involve solar energy. This incentive lasts until 2022, and many residents have started their own solar installations.

Solar companies and contractors are giving free assessments and providing additional incentives for residents. One factor driving the interest in solar energy is electric vehicles. Charging electric cars with solar power is the only way to make sure these vehicles produce zero carbon emissions.

An electric car connected to a grid reliant on fossil fuels and coal makes practically no sense — as charging the vehicle still requires electricity sourced from burning fuels. As more residents turn to solar energy, revenues from utilities may drop. Still, the government is more than willing to face this problem.

The Cost of Clean Energy

Installing a solar energy system in your home is not just an environmental statement; it can actually be a worthwhile investment. Solar energy panels can reduce your reliance on the grid, protecting you from annual price increases and surging prices. The departure of big corporations from NV Energy can also potentially raise electrical prices.

A solar energy system doesn’t come cheap; you can expect to pay around $10,000 to $40,000. Once you have functioning solar panels in your home, your payments towards your solar panels will probably amount to the savings you get on your electric bills. The technology is practically free, and once your payments are done in a few years, you’ll still be getting free electricity.

The local government’s drive for clean energy is a noble one. However, without competition, prices go up and there is less of a drive to provide better service. Change will ultimately come from the people, in their quest for a cleaner city, greener earth, or just a better deal.