Virginia Solar Rebates and Incentives
|Program Type||Performance-based Incentive|
|Amount||$1,000 plus $0.12 kWh above the retail rate|
|Required Documentation||Participation Agreement Form|
|Official Web Site||http://www.tva.com/|
Through Generation Partners, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) offers customers of systems between 500 watts and less than 1 megawatt a performance-based incentive for PV or renewable electricity generation. The program will cease accepting applicants when generating capacity through the program reaches 200 megawatts. Contracts under the program last for 10 years and TVA owns any renewable energy credits that system generates.
Participating property owners receive a $1,000 bonus to help with start-up costs. TVA buys 100 percent of the power produced by the renewable energy system plus a $0.12 premium per kW hour (kWh) produced. TVA explained “if you pay your power company 10 cents per kWh for the electricity you use to your power your home each month, then TVA will pay you 22 cents (10 cents plus a 12 cent guaranteed premium) per kWh for 100 percent of the green energy generated from your solar photovoltaic system.” An average 2 kW PV system in the region produces an average 200 kWh per month, according to TVA. The participating owner of the system would be paid an average of $44 per month for their power generation, the organization said.
Generation Partner payments are credited on the customer’s bill from the local company. And if the system produces more electricity than the customer uses, the power company can choose to reimburse them either annually or monthly.
Under the program’s eligibility requirements, a completed interconnection application must be submitted prior to the customer’s local power company prior to purchasing equipment. And all equipment related to the system must have a manual, lockable disconnect switch, easily accessible by the local power company. The system must be permitted and certified by a licensed electrician.
Energy generated by the systems will count toward TVA's green power pricing program, Green Power Switch, which people in Virginia may choose to opt into through their utility. But participants in Generation Partners do not have to participate in Green Power Switch.
|Program Type||Property Assessment Based Financing|
|Technologies||Photovoltaics, Landfill Gas, other renewables|
|Required Documentation||Locally determined|
|Official Web Site||http://leg1.state.va.us/|
Virginia’s PACE financing statute allows property owners to get a loan from the local government to finance photovoltaic installations and energy improvements. The government places an assessment or lien on the property equal to the amount borrowed, and the property owner pays it back over time. In some states, the local government can finance the program by issuing bonds; it is not clear whether that is the case in Virginia. The program was enacted in 2009, and clarification to the rule was added in July 2010. As of August 2010, no local governments or municipalities had developed a PACE financing program.
Under Virginia’s rules, local governments that choose to offer PACE financing can establish an ordinance to do so. However, they must first hold a public hearing allowing for feedback on the draft ordinance or plan. The local government must specify which clean-energy improvements are allowed, establish funding sources, and determine the terms of the loans, including interest rates and repayment terms.
The local government must determine how it will collect the loan repayment. Some choices include property tax assessments, extra charges on water or sewer bills, or other billing methods.
Private lenders may also participate in the PACE program as well. And the local government may choose to bundle the loans and allow private lenders to purchase them without impacting the lien.
|Program Type||Net Metering|
|Technologies||Solar Thermal Electric, Photovoltaics, Wind, other renewables|
|Amount||Credited to customer bill at retail rate|
|Required Documentation||Interconnection agreement|
|Official Web Site||http://www.deq.virginia.gov|
According to the state, enrollment in the net-metering program is on a first-come, first-serve basis until the utility purchases 1 percent of its electricity from customers.
Net-metered customers are credited, at the retail rate, for any net excess generation produced on a monthly basis over a year period. The excess generation is carried forward on an annual basis. Originally, any net excess generation would revert to the utility. Now net excess generation over a year is carried forward into the next month. However, if a customer produces more electricity than it uses over a 12-month period, they are only credited for the amount of power it purchased over the previous year’s period.
The state explained that “if a customer-generator bought 1,500 kWh from a utility during the first eleven months of the annual period, and then generated 2,000 kWh of excess electricity in the twelfth month, the customer could carry forward 1,500 kWh to the following month, and the remaining 500 kWh would be granted to the utility.”
If customers produce more energy than they consumed over the year period and wants compensation for the excess generation, they can attempt to enter into a payment agreement with their utility. Such a request must be submitted to the utility in the period before the system goes live in order to receive compensation. When customers enter into an excess generation payment agreement with a utility, the utility must pay the system owner at least the avoided cost of the generation provided by the customer.
To enter into a net-metering arrangement, customers must fill out an interconnection agreement with their utility. Customers with systems under 10 kW in size may be required to pay up to $50 for an inverter inspection for inverter-based systems, like PV systems. And residential customers with interconnected systems must carry at least $100,000 in liability insurance.
While the rule stipulates that all a customer needs is a UL- (Underwriters Laboratories) certified meter capable of measuring energy flow in both directions, utilities can request installing a lockable disconnect switch at their request.
The Commonwealth of Virginia may be for lovers—but its incentives for clean energy like photovoltaics (PVs) aren’t showing the love that its neighboring states are giving to renewables.
Virginia is home to many prominent government institutions, including the Marine Corp and FBI training grounds in Quantico, Langley Air Force Base, the CIA and the Department of Defense. As such, federal monies have likely gone into energy efficiency retrofits and PV add-ons to some of these buildings.
The state’s southern location and diverse geography are fostering its growing vintner industry, conditions that also make Virginia a great state for installing solar power and solar thermal. Two-thirds of the state gets an average of nearly 5 kilowatt hours (kWh) per square meter of sunlight per day, with the rest getting slightly less.
The state has a voluntary renewable energy goal of supplying 15 percent of the state’s electric generating capacity in 2007 with renewables by 2025. The voluntary nature of the goal and the lower ambitions in terms of percentage and timeline place Virginia behind many states that have passed renewable energy standards into law. A majority of such states have enacted standards requiring utilities to source at least 25 percent of their electric generation from renewables by 2025 and some, like Colorado, Hawaii, and California, have passed even higher standards. It remains to be seen whether or not Virginia’s voluntary approach to encourage renewable energy growth will yield positive results.
The state has some incentives to help residents become energy independent by converting to PV or other renewables. Among the incentives offered to residents are property tax incentives, property-assessed clean energy (PACE) financing, a performance-based incentive offered by the Tennessee Valley Authority, and net metering. In addition, local governments, like Arlington County offer additional renewable incentives. Arlington County, which neighbors Washington, D.C., offers a green-building incentive for developers of buildings that achieve LEED certification.
The state also incentivizes its residents to become more energy efficient through sales tax credits and rebates for energy-efficient appliances. Rebates are offered both through the state and utilities operating in the state.
Green Building Incentive
Property Tax Assessment
Property Tax Exemption
Sales Tax Exemption
Utility Rebate Program
Rules, Regulations & Policies
Building Energy Code
Energy Standards for Public Buildings
Green Power Purchasing/Aggregation
Renewables Portfolio Standard
Solar Access Law/Guideline
Solar/Wind Permitting Standards
Related Programs & Initiatives
The U.S. Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center (AFDC) provides a wide range of information and resources to enable the use of alternative fuels and other petroleum-reduction options, such as advanced vehicles, fuel blends, idle reduction and fuel economy. The AFDC site offers a database of state and federal laws and incentives related to alternative fuels and vehicles, air quality, fuel efficiency, and other transportation-related topics.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Green Power Network provides news and information on green power markets and activities, including opportunities to buy green power. This site provides state-by-state information on green power marketing and utility green power programs. In addition, the site lists marketers of renewable energy credits (RECs), also known as green tags or renewable energy certificates, which represent the environmental attributes of the power produced from renewable energy projects.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) enables low-income families to reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy-efficient. Through this program, weatherization service providers install energy-efficiency measures in the homes of qualifying homeowners free of charge. The WAP program web site offers a state-by-state map of opportunities, projects and activities.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Wind Powering America site provides state-by-state information on wind projects and activities, including wind working groups, validated wind maps, anemometer loan programs, small wind guides, state-specific news, wind for schools, workshops and web casts.