Nevada’s Supreme Court struck down a ballot measure Thursday to change the state’s constitution to give lucrative subsidies to SolarCity, a rooftop solar company chaired by billionaire Elon Musk, and its customers.
The seven-member court bluntly rejected a ballot measure, backed by SolarCity, as fundamentally flawed. The court unanimously found that the petition used to get signatures for the referendum provided was “inaccurate,” “misleading” and “argumentative.” This ruling removes the measure from ballots in November.
The proposed amendment stated that Nevada’s electricity markets would be opened to outside competition to minimize regulatory burdens, but does not specify exactly how so. The amendment had support from Nevada Democratic Sen. Harry Reid.
Musk and liberal billionaire Warren Buffett, the third richest man in the world with an estimated net worth of 60.8 billion, have been locked in an escalating conflict over solar subsidies since December.
If the ballot initiative had been successful, Musk would effectively reverse Buffett’s major December victory, when Nevada’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) imposed rules that effectively ended net-metering. Net metering had been forcing electrical utilities, owned by Buffet, to buy the energy produced by rooftop solar panels, owned by Musk, at high rates.