A new Nevada law, Assembly Bill 186, makes it easier for companies to lease renewable systems such as solar panels to public and private entities. The law went into effect on October 1, 2009. AB 186 makes it legal in Nevada for a company to enter a power purchase agreement (PPA) without being considered a utility. It allows a third-party provider to install, own and operate a renewable energy system such as solar on a home or facility and lease the system to the property owner without being subject to the same regulations that a utility has to comply with.
The bill is a clarification about third-party ownership and the leasing of renewable energy systems. The typical application for a third-party renewable system involves installing solar panels on top of buildings. A company then bears the cost of the installation instead of the building owner. That company then makes an agreement with the building owner to lease the solar system either through a low initial rate that slowly escalates over time or a higher flat rate set for a certain number of years., The leasing system is especially attractive for public entities. Another advantage is that it allows for bigger renewable projects. Some third-party programs also have lease-to-own options which give public and private entities greater financial flexibility.