This week, NV Energy, owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) to buy electricity from the 100 MW Playa Solar 2 power plant in Nevada at a jaw-droppingly low price of $0.0387 per kWh. Meanwhile, NV Energy’s lobbyists are doing all they can to make it more expensive for Nevada residents to produce their own solar power. It would seem that Mr. Buffett loves to sell solar to his customers, but he does not like the idea of his customers making their own power. From a strictly business perspective, this is not surprising– after all, why buy rooftop solar from your homeowners or businesses at retail rate, when you can make and sell your own for a tiny fraction of the price?
The problem is, as in most of the United States, utilities in Nevada are
government regulated, and operate in government-sanctioned monopoly
service territories. This means that residents and businesses in NV
Energy’s territory do not have a choice of who they buy their
electricity from, and they have no other options as to who they can sell
their solar power to. This means that it is up to the Nevada
Legislature and the Nevada Utilities Commission to decide what is fair
to both parties.