Sunrun, Inc., the most prominent residential solar business in America pulled out of Nevada, throwing hundreds of employees out of work and apparently helped uncover a scam. Sunrun blames the layoffs on new rules adopted by Nevada’s Public Utilities Commission. Also curst for the decision were NV Energy and Nevada politicians.
Sunrun, which partners with local installation businesses, expected to see those companies forced to either lay off employees or even close their doors. Observers say Sunrun is the third national solar company affected by the PUC’s anti-solar rules which have stopped operating in Nevada.
In 2016 the PUC implemented rules adverse to solar power users. The guidelines block thousands of Nevada residents from choosing clean, affordable electricity and undermine investments of over 16,000 existing solar clients.
The reduction and elimination of savings were the results of testimony given by PUC staff who admitted the commission neither performed analysis of existing customers nor reviewed the impact it would have on future solar investments.
Sunrun is the biggest residential solar company in America. Since beginning the “solar as service” model in 2007, Sunrun leads the industry in providing clean energy to homeowners with no upfront costs and savings over traditionally generated electricity.
The company fought back.
On August 14, 2017, Sunrun and several <advocacy groups>, filed petitions claiming that NV Energy’s proposed rate structure is based on how much electricity a customer uses and the rates would apply to all customers regardless of the source of power.
Sunrun intends to return to Nevada since the passage of Assembly Bill 405, but it will be too late for one business impacted by the PUC structure change.
Maybe Too Late For Summerlin
Summerlin Energy, a company, impacted by Sunrun’s forced departure from Nevada’s solar energy market, went bankrupt and now a former majority-owner has been indicted.
The executive, Drew Levy, owned 30% of the business and managed daily operations. Levy was also a vice-president of the company.
The fallen executive is looking at nine charges of theft and nine additional charges of ‘diversion of funds.’
The indictments allege Levy and a partner, Henry Bankey, instructed workers to continue writing new deals for solar installation and continue collecting fees despite being in debt and unable to complete scheduled installs.
No solar panels were placed, and no buyers saw their money refunded.
Before working at Summerlin Energy, Bankey had to deal with criminal charges linked to another business in Utah. There Bankey was one of seven persons indicted on 34 federal counts, including racketeering, bank fraud, and money laundering.