It's no secret that Virginia is becoming more and more popular. From the pleasant livability of Richmond, to the beautiful beaches of Virginia Beach, to the laid-back history of Colonial Williamsburg, there's something for everyone in this state.
Energy costs are rising, and solar has become a great option for many people. The state of solar power in Virginia is interesting to say the least.
Current policies extend solar panel incentives and allow for self-consumption rates to be competitive with utility company rates, but more changes are expected in the coming years. Before you make any decisions with solar though, it's important to know your rights to own solar in Virginia.
Landmark Solar Legislations in Virginia
The Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA)
The Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA) was created to create a statewide clean energy policy designed to establish a voluntary program for the Commonwealth of Virginia to transition to clean energy sources. The VCEA is an Act of the Commonwealth of Virginia that establishes a framework for a self-sustaining, market-driven approach to renewable energy, energy efficiency, and energy conservation in Virginia. This Act would support a program that would allow Virginia residents and businesses to purchase electricity from renewable sources, such as wind and solar.The VCEA was passed as House Bill 1526 and Senate Bill 851 by the Virginia General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Ralph Northam onApril 12, 2020.
The Solar Freedom Act
The Solar Freedom Act is a piece of Virginia legislation (HB.572), which seeks to prevent Homeowner Associations (HOAs) from stopping individuals from going solar with their unreasonable restriction. Among other provisions, it also allows a shared solar program that would benefit multifamily residential customers by allowing them to purchase electricity through a shared solar facility.
Your Solar rights in VA
1.Rights of new customers -If you are a new solar customer, VCEA allows you the option of net metering.
2.Right to fair compensation -As a solar owner, you are entitled to receive fair compensation for your solar.
3.Permits to install larger solar systems -You are permitted to install up to 25 kW sized solar systems instead of 20 kW hitherto allowed. Commercial properties had their limit raised from 1 MW to 3 MW.
4.Utilities are not allowed to impose additional fees on your solar system if it is 15 kW or less in Dominion territory. If your property is located in It Appalachian Power territory the utilities have no right to demand extra fees.
5.For homeowners in Dominion territory, you can purchase a system that covers 150% of your annual electricity usage.
6.If you run a Non-profit organization, you can also take advantage of the federal solar tax credit.
7.Your rights when dealing with HOA -Virginia law (Solar Freedom Act) protects you from HOA restrictions to go solar i.e. homeowners associations can’t prevent you from installing solar. They can only stop you if only the recorded declaration prohibits solar installations.
8.If you live in shared apartment buildings or condos in the Dominion territory, you have the right to share electricity from an on-site solar system.
Going forward -The future of Residential solar power in Virginia