The State Corporation Commission (SCC) has adopted rules that will open more opportunities for the development of small solar projects in Virginia that produce electricity to a shared group of subscribers.
Community solar allows a developer of a small-scale solar project to subscribe eligible customers to purchase a share of the output of the solar facility. The customer, through net metering, gets a bill credit from their utility company for the energy being supplied by the shared solar program.
The introduction of shared solar programs results from legislation adopted during the 2020 session of the Virginia General Assembly. Homeowner’s associations, residential subdivisions, apartment building complexes, office building complexes, and industrial parks may have an interest in being developers of small solar projects.
Initially, there is a program cap on the level of shared solar that is permitted. The program is limited to the service territory of Dominion Energy Virginia. Kentucky Utilities, doing business in Southwest Virginia as Old Dominion Power Company, is participating in a multi-family shared solar program.
The rules adopted by the Commission establish the procedures for becoming licensed as a subscriber organization (the owner of the solar project); registering with the utility company; and the standards the subscribing organization must follow when marketing and enrolling customers.
The rules were developed with the assistance of a stakeholder group of more than 60 participants. The group will continue to provide input to SCC staff as deployment of these programs unfold over the next few years. This will include recommendations for giving low-income customers the opportunity to participate and receive solar energy.