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Nevada leaders call for clean energy investments options for all

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Alex Gonzalez

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(Nevada News Service) Nevada state leaders held a workshop on clean energy home upgrades and discussed how people can leverage available tax credits on solar power, heat pump appliances, and weatherization projects.

State Senator Dina Neal - D-Las Vegas - said while there are many beneficial federal investments coming to the Silver State that can help Nevadans save on utility bills, she wants to see more work being done to ensure communities of color and low-income households can tap into them.

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"Typically in our community we are under-banked, under-loaned," said Neal, "so what are the chances of us getting it anyway? You have to be able to make it reachable for those communities that are already in that situation, meaning they don't have access to capital, they don't have a good credit score."

A study found that majority Black and Hispanic neighborhoods in the U.S. installed 69 percent and 30 percent less rooftop solar systems respectively, than majority white neighborhoods.

Neal said there are programs making a difference, like NV Energy's Qualified Appliance Replacement program which aims to help limited-income homeowners and renters replace select older, inefficient household appliances with newer, more efficient models.

Nevada Clean Energy Fund Loan Officer and Program Manager Will Pregman said organizations like his are there to help connect Nevadans and contractor businesses with incentive programs.

Pregman said among the biggest challenges in realizing clean energy investments is the high up-front costs.

But for him, it's all about being an efficient energy consumer, which he said saves money down the line.

"So it is about reducing energy usage and making that energy usage more efficient," said Pregman, "and that happens with the clean technology that is incentivized by these renewable rebates and tax credits."

Pregman said they've launched their Residential Energy Upgrade Program, also referred to as RE-UP, which was designed to create affordable financing options for clean energy upgrades and repairs for low or moderate-income Nevadans.

He contended the loans they offer through RE-UP, combined with rebates, taxes credits and other incentives can help Nevadans lower their utility bills.