Solar installer

After working at a convenience store for five years, Las Vegas resident Connie Berry was ready for a change. In 2015, she started a new career as a solar installer.

Berry: “Things were going really good for about seven months.”

But at the end of that year, Nevada’s Public Utilities Commission imposed new rules that increased the fees charged to people with rooftop solar. The commission also slashed the amount these people were reimbursed for the power they added to the grid.

The fall-out was immediate. Applications for solar installations in Nevada fell by 99 percent in 2016. Solar companies were forced to lay off workers.

The Commission imposed new rules ... and the fall-out was immediate. Click To Tweet

Berry: “I got laid off the day before New Year’s Eve.”

While Berry struggled to find work, solar advocates fought the new regulations and won. This past June, Nevada’s state legislature passed a bill reestablishing more favorable rates for solar. Now, the industry is getting back on its feet, and so is Connie Berry.

Berry: “I got my job back, I’m very, very happy.”

But the industry is still young. And as Berry’s story shows, shifting regulations can have real-life consequences for solar workers.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

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