Dominion Virginia Power delves into distributed solar

Dominion Virginia Power delves into distributed solarVirginia’s largest electric producer, Dominion Virginia Power, a subsidiary of Dominion (NYSE: D), has proposed installing photovoltaics on up to 50 sites in its service area in Virginia.

The distributed generation would add about 30 megawatts of distributed DC power to its electric grid in the state, enough to power about 6,000 homes in the commonwealth.

The majority of the 30 to 50 installations would be on commercial rooftops, according to Dominion spokesperson Tom Kazas. However, at least four of the installations would be on government buildings in the state. This would be the first such project for the company, he said.

“We have legislation that passed this year to enable us to do this,” he said.

The company is working toward generating 15 percent of its electricity from renewable resources, but it’s not required by law to do so.

“We don’t have a specific requirement,” Kazas said. “This particular proposal is part of a continuing voluntary goal of sourcing 15 percent of our energy from renewables by 2025.”

Under the proposed program Dominion would install and maintain the systems on building rooftops and lease the rooftop and space from the building owner, according to Kazas.

“This is a straight lease agreement with the commercial building owner. They have the rooftop and acreage, and they will lease it to us,” he said.

Power produced by the arrays will go directly on to the grid.

At this time the program would only be eligible to commercial and community buildings. The company doesn’t have residential solar incentive programs set up, Kazas said.

Each property will have a Web-enabled monitor that displays the solar array's output. As part of the demonstration project, the company will monitor and track data from each site.

However, Kazas was not sure if people could view production of the facilities remotely.

Before proceeding with any of the solar installations, however, Dominion still needs the demonstration project to be approved by the Virginia State Corporation Commission.

“If we can get approval next year, then we hope to have something done by the end of next year,” Kazas said. “We don’t know how long it will take to approve.”

Based on the success of the program Dominion hopes to expand it in future years.

Image courtesy of Sunny Portal of an SPCA Solar Project supported by Dominion.