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Thursday, June 20, 2013

New Dominion Power program encourages use of solar energy

Solar panels on the roof of Annandale resident Bob Kovacs' second home in the Blue Ridge mountains.
If you’ve got solar panels on your property or plan to install them within the next six months, you can apply for Dominion Virginia Power’s Solar Purchase Program, beginning June 20, which is designed to help cover your installation costs. Applications are online.

Participating customers purchase, install, and own the solar generation system located on their property but sell the electricity and the associated solar renewable energy certificates (RECs) back to Dominion at a premium rate of 15 cents per kilowatt-hour. The energy they generate goes back to the grid. Customers in the solar program will purchase all of the electricity for their homes or businesses from Dominion on their current rate schedule.

“Its hard to say” how much money customers will save by joining the program, said Dominion spokesperson Tom Kazas. “It depends on a lot of factors, such as sunlight, energy use, and size of the installation.”

The Solar Purchase Program is an alternative to Dominion’s net metering program in which customers offset their consumption with self-generated renewable energy using a variety of fuel sources. Currently, about 850 customers take part in net metering. 

Participants in the Solar Purchase Program will be selected on a first-come, first served basis. The pilot program is limited to a total of 3 megawatts. Dominion expects about 475 customers could participate. Sixty percent will be homeowners; the rest will be business owners.

If selected by Dominion, customers will be charged a $100 processing fee and will have to install an additional meter that would just be used to measure the energy generated by the solar panels.

Heres a video by Annandale resident Bob Kovacs about the 18-panel solar energy system on his second home in the Blue Ridge Mountains in rural Virginia:

The following video is about the cost of Kovacs solar system, as described in a presentation at the Shepherds Center of Annandale-Springfield:

1 comment:

  1. This is a great article. I especially liked the videos. Thank you.

    Sigora Solar has a nice blog post that goes into some more detail about how the Solar Purchase Program will benefit homeowners in Charlottesville, Staunton, Waynesboro, and the Valley:

    I also wanted to add that Dominion's Solar Purchase Program is a more meaningful step in the right direction, energy-wise, than it might initially seem. Virginia has historically been reluctant to adopt solar power on a state-wide level, so this private-led initiative, championing distributed generation, could be a pretty positive sign of a changing approach.