Solar Developers Passing On Nev. Despite Potential

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Solar developers are passing on Nevada for
projects despite the state's abundance of sun, saying other places
offer more incentives for small projects as large projects have trouble getting financed.

Solar experts say the top states attracting solar developers include California, Arizona and New Mexico, as well as Oregon, Colorado, New Jersey and Texas.

Large-scale projects - the kind most attractive to Nevada - are more difficult to get funded today than smaller scale projects, Morgan Stanley Vice President Edward Levin said.

"It used to be that large sized was your friend. I'm not sure that's the case anymore," Levin said this month at a solar energy conference in San Diego. "It might be easier to get smaller projects funded today. ... The sweet spot of the market is one megawatt or less."

But companies that build solar projects that size say they have little interest in Nevada because other states have higher electricity prices, offer rebates and tax incentives and have residents who want their energy to come from renewable sources.

"We've never seriously considered Nevada because the market isn't there yet," said Hygenes Garcia, a lead engineer for solar engineering firm M&W Zander. "There aren't enough Nevadans putting in PV (photovoltaic) and not enough people interested in having PV."

Rebates for new solar installations for small businesses and homes are capped at one megawatt per year statewide. The program
generally has a long waiting list as applicants file quickly each year.

At the same time, some developers fear that incentives will be dropped or decreased because of Nevada's budget problems.

"The public's appetite for new tax losses due to companies taking advantage of state incentives or the (federal tax credits) could dry up," said chief executive Matthew Cheney of MMA Renewables. "States with deficits are looking for opportunities to cut things, and they're going to cut things that don't hurt."
Information from: Las Vegas Sun,

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-10-26-08 1728EDT

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