Investing.com — Shares in SolarCity Corporation (O:SCTY) ended their worst week on Friday since the Northern California solar energy provider went public in 2012, in the wake of a controversial decision from a state regulator in Nevada earlier in the week to deny a request from customers that would delay a new rule intended to make solar power more expensive for homes and businesses in the state.
Solar City shares plunged 1.92 or 5.16% on Friday to close at 35.20, ending a tumultuous week when the Elon Musk-run company plummeted approximately 30%. Shares in the top residential solar installation company in the U.S. are down sharply by nearly 45% from their 52-week high reached last May.
Following six hours of animated, impassioned testimony from customers on Wednesday evening, the Nevada Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously to not suspend a planned hike in rooftop solar rates for net metering customers. The rules, adopted late last year, raised fees while lowering credits for solar-powered residences and companies. The new rate, which was adopted on January 1, affects all rooftop solar customers statewide, including those which had the panels installed prior to 2015.
Although a large contingent of customers criticized the Commission for imposing unfair rate hikes, the panel countered by blaming solar companies for not alerting the users that higher rates could be forthcoming this year.
“It doesn’t make me uncomfortable to try to protect 98% of residents in this state who don’t have net metering on their roofs. I think we can find a balance,” Nevada Public Utilities Commissioner Paul Thompson said at the hearing.
Last month, Solar City discontinued the sale and installation of rooftop solar panels in Nevada after the commission approved a measure to reduce the amount a state utility reimbursed customers to purchase excess solar power.
Prominent solar companies such as Solar City are racing to complete a series of major projects before a significant solar power tax credit expires at the end of the year. For a seven-year period from 2008 to 2014, federal subsidies provided wind and solar companies with nearly $24 billion, according to Bloomberg. The wind subsidies recently expired.
The subsidies helped spur a 12-fold increase in solar installations over the last decade, while reducing customer costs by nearly 10% annually. Industry expect the number of solar installations to decline by more than 60% in the year following the expiration of the credit.
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