Virginia Solar Rebates And Incentives

Rebates list

Virginia Rebates and Incentives Summary

VirginiaThe 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.

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Appalachian Power (Electric)- Residential Energy Efficiency Programs

Appalachian Power offers a variety of rebates to its residential customers for the installation of energy efficient measures. These include an appliance recycling program, the Bring Your Own Thermostat Program, and the Residential Peak Reduction Program, which offers incentives for reducing energy consumption during peak times. Additionally, Appalachian Power provides a Low-Income Weatherization program for families with total annual household income at or below 60% of the state median income. This program provides both products and services to those in need. Please contact the program administrator or visit the program website for more information. 

Arlington County - Green Building Incentive Program


Consistent with Section 15.5.7.A.1 of the Arlington County, Virginia, Zoning Ordinance, the program allows up to 0.50 FAR for residential and office buildings who achieve LEED Silver or higher using LEED Version 4. Commercial office buildings earning bonus density must also agree to earn ENERGY STAR building certification within four years of occupancy. An additional 0.025 FAR is available for achieving one of eight Arlington priority credits (credit will be given for up to two priority credits). Projects designed and constructed to achieve at least LEED Gold certification plus two Arlington priority credits plus Net Zero Energy Building certification through

Arlington County- Home Energy Rebates

Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy program offers each household/address in Arlington county up to $575 in rebates towards increasing energy efficiency of the home. Rebates are available for water heaters, air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, heat-pumps, and for air sealing/insulation. Incentives are provided on a first-come, first-serve basis until the funds are depleted. 

Eligibility

Only residents of Arlington county, who are upgrading an existing home are eligible for the rebate. The upgrades must have occurred on or after May 4, 2016. 

Program Description 

The work must already be completed before applying for the rebate. Eligible participants must fill out the application form, including itemized

Building Energy Code

NOTE: Much of the information presented in this summary is drawn from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Building Energy Codes Program and the Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP). For more detailed information about building energy codes, visit the DOE and BCAP web sites.

The Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC) is a statewide minimum requirement that local jurisdictions cannot amend. The code is applicable to all new buildings in the commonwealth. The Board of Housing and Community Development (a Governor-appointed board) has authority to adopt changes to the USBC. The process is very similar to the federal regulatory process.

Charlottesville Gas - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program

Charlottesville Gas offers rebates to residential customers for purchasing and installing specified energy efficient equipment. Rebates and utility bill credits of up to $100 are available for installing new, energy efficient natural gas water heaters and programmable thermostats. Only customers which previously did not have natural gas water heating are eligible for the natural gas water heating rebate. Programmable thermostats must be new and energy-saver models. Only residences which receive natural gas from Charlottesville Gas are eligible for these rebates. Some installation requirements also apply. All application and information forms are available on the program web site listed above. Mail

City of Danville - Net Metering

For a renewable fuel generator with a capacity of 25 kilowatts (kW) or less, a notification form shall be submitted at least 30 days prior to the date the customer intends to interconnect their renewable fuel generator to the utility's facilities. Renewable fuel generators with a capacity over 25 kW are required to submit forms no later than 60 days prior to planned interconnection. The utility will review and determine whether the requirements for Interconnection have been met. More information on this process may be found in the Danville Utilities' Electric Rate Schedule and Riders.

A customer may begin

City of Danville Utilities - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program

The City of Danville Utilities offers a variety of rebates to all electric residential customers served by the department. Rebates are available for washers, refrigerators, water heaters, heat pump water heaters, air source heat pumps, central air conditioners, attic insulation and HVAC tune-ups. Rebates for attic insulation and central air conditioners vary based upon the efficiency rating of installed equipment. Washers and refrigerators must be Energy Star certified in order to qualify for rebates. View the program web site or contact Danville Utilities for various program requirements.

Columbia Gas of Virginia - Home Savings Rebate Program

Columbia Gas of Virginia offers rebates to residential customers for the purchase and installation of energy efficient appliances and equipment. Furnaces, windows, and smart thermostats are available for cash rebates. All efficiency and performance requirements must be met in order to receive rebate. Some installation requirements also apply. All application and information forms are available on the program web site. Mail-in rebate applications should be sent to the address listed below. Contact Columbia Gas of Virginia for further information on this program.

Commercial Solar Property Tax Exemption

The following property tax exemptions for solar facilities are available in Virginia:

100% property tax exemption for the assessed value of equipment and facilities used in:

  1. Projects equaling 20 MW or less that serve a public institution of higher education or private college.
  2. Projects equaling 5 MW or less.

80% property tax exemption for the assessed value of equipment and facilities used in:

  1. Other projects over 5 MW and less than 150 MW. The exemption for projects greater than 20 MW shall not apply to projects upon which the construction begins after January 1, 2024.

The law broadly defines eligible solar

Commonwealth's Energy Leasing Program

Lease financing administered by the Department of Treasury provides funding for energy efficiency projects in state facilities operated by state agencies, authorities and institutions of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Energy Leasing Program allows for the purchase of services and equipment required to develop, design, and install an energy efficiency project. Agencies can finance energy projects at a minimum of $100,000 and will make repayments over 12 or 15 year terms.

The funds can be used to finance projects with relevant energy efficient technology, such as lighting and motor efficiency upgrades, building envelope enhancements, distribution system improvements, and energy management

Dominion Virginia Power - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program

Dominion Virginia Power provides a number of rebates to customers for the installation of energy efficient equipment and measures. 

The Smart Cooling Rewards Program provides homeowners with an annual credit of $40 for reducing the use of energy at peak times.

The Income-Qualifying Home Improvement Program provides incentives for various energy-efficient products such as:  LED lighting, showerheads, aerators, pipe wrap insulation for hot water pipes, attic insulation.

The Small Business Improvement Program provides an energy assessment which includes the following areas: direct install lighting, variable frequency drives, efficient heat pumps, efficient air conditioning units, prescriptive re-commissioning.

Contact Dominion Virginia Power

Dominion Virginia Power - Solar Purchase Program

Note: As the program is approaching its end, Dominion has filed an application with the Commission in 2018 to keep the existing participants on the tariff on a year-to-year basis. The program is now closed to new applicants. 


In March 2013, the Virginia State Corporation Commission approved a rate program for Dominion Virginia Power customers that install solar PV systems. The rate was approved at 15 cents per kWh with a 5 year contract. Both residential and nonresidential customers are eligible for the program. The program is capped 3 MW, with 60% of the capacity reserved for residential customers and 40%

Energy Project and Equipment Financing

The Virginia Resources Authority (VRA) was created in 1984 and provides financial assistance to local governments in Virginia for a variety of projects, including energy and energy conservation projects. In March 2011, H.B. 2389 added "renewable energy" to the list of eligible projects (though it may have already been technically eligible under the "energy" category). VRA offers several financing options, including the Virginia Pooled Financing Program, Revolving Loan Funds, and Term Financing. Interested entities should use the contact form available on the VRA web site in order to discuss financing options with VRA staff.

Green Jobs Tax Credit

NOTE: This tax credit expired at the end of 2015. This summary here is for information purpose only. 

In April 2010, Virginia enacted the green jobs tax credit. For every green job created with a yearly salary of $50,000 or more, the company will earn a $500 income tax credit for five years. The Office of Commerce and Trade will develop a full list of jobs eligible to qualify for the tax credit. Companies will be allowed tax credits for up to 350 green jobs created. If the taxpayer does not have enough tax liability to take the full credit,

Guidelines for Solar and Wind Local Ordinances

In March 2011, the Virginia legislature enacted broad guidelines for local ordinances for solar and wind. The law states that any local ordinance related to the siting of solar or wind energy facilities must:

  • Be consistent with the Commonwealth Energy Policy (§ 67-102)
  • Provide reasonable criteria for wind and solar energy siting, protecting the locality while promoting wind and solar development
  • Establish reasonable requirements for noise limitations, buffer areas, set backs, and facility decommissioning

Income Tax Deduction for Energy-Efficient Products

Taxpayers in Virginia may deduct from their taxable personal income an amount equal to 20% of the sales taxes paid for certain energy efficient equipment. The incentive is capped at $500. This incentive is available for the following equipment types:

  • ENERGY STAR clothes washers
  • ENERGY STAR room air conditioners
  • ENERGY STAR dishwashers
  • ENERGY STAR standard size refrigerators
  • Any fuel cell that generates electricity using an electrochemical process, has an electricity-only generation efficiency greater than 35 percent, and has a generating capacity of at least two kilowatts 
  • Any gas heat pump that has a coefficient of performance of at least 1.25 for heating

Interconnection Standards

Virginia has two interconnection standards: one for net-metered systems and one for systems that are not net-metered.

Interconnection for Net-Metered Systems

Customer-generators that net meter must comply with the interconnection rules within the regulations governing net metering (20 VAC 5-315-40). These rules apply to residential customers with generation facilities up to 20 kW in capacity and non-residential systems up to 1,000 kW in capacity. Utilities that have already enrolled 1% of their peak load for the previous year are not required to allow additional customers to net meter. More information is available under DSIRE Virginia net metering post. 

Customer-generators with

Local Option - Clean Energy Financing

NOTE: In 2010, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which has authority over mortgage underwriters Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, directed these enterprises against purchasing mortgages of homes with a PACE lien due to its senior status above a mortgage. Most residential PACE activity subsided following this directive; however, some residential PACE programs are now operating with loan loss reserve funds, appropriate disclosures, or other protections meant to address FHFA's concerns. Commercial PACE programs were not directly affected by FHFA’s actions, as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do not underwrite commercial mortgages. Visit PACENow for more information about PACE financing

Local Option - Property Tax Assessment for Energy Efficient Buildings

In March 2008, Virginia enacted legislation that would allow local jurisdictions to assess the property tax of energy efficient buildings at a reduced rate. Under this law, eligible energy-efficient buildings, not including the real property on which they are located, may be considered a separate class of property for local taxation purposes. Accordingly, the governing body of any county, city or town may, by ordinance, allow a special assessment of the property taxes for this class of property.

An energy-efficient building is defined as any building that exceeds the energy efficiency standards of the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code by

Local Option - Residential Property Tax Exemption for Solar

The State of Virginia provides the option for any county, city, or town to exempt or partially exempt solar energy equipment and recycling equipment from local property taxes.  This status is targeted toward non-commercial participants; commercial entities are fully exempt from state and local taxes under Commercial Property Tax Exemption for Solar.

The solar equipment and installation has to be inspected and certified by the local building department or the Department of Environmental Quality to provide the value of the system for the purpose of determining tax credit. The statute broadly defines solar energy equipment as any that is

Local Option- Renewable Energy Machinery and Tools Property Tax Exemption

HB 1297 enacted in March 2015 provides option for local governing body of any county, city, or town to impose a different property tax on renewable energy generating machinery and tools than other normal use machinery. The rate of property tax imposed must not exceed that is applicable to the general class of machinery and tools. 

Renewable energy means energy derived from sunlight, wind, falling water, biomass, sustainable or otherwise (definitions liberally constructed), energy from waste, landfill gas, municipal solid waste, wave motion, tides, or geothermal power and does not include energy derived from coal, oil, natural gas, or nuclear

Mandatory Utility Green Power Option

Virginia passed legislation (S.B. 1416) in April 2007 that includes a provision that electricity customers in Virginia have the option to purchase 100% renewable energy from their utility. If their utility does not offer a program that meets the 100% renewable energy requirement, its customers will be permitted to purchase green power from any licensed retail supplier. For information about the green power utilities and suppliers in Virginia, see the Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Green Power Network website.

Net Metering

NOTE: The omnibus energy bill enacted in March 2018, S.B. 966, includes an enactment clause requiring utilities to investigate potential improvements to the state’s net metering and community solar programs. Each utility will hold stakeholder meetings for the development of proposed legislation. As of Q4 2018, the proceeding is ongoing. 

Net metering in Virginia is available on a first-come, first-served basis until the rated generating capacity owned and operated by customer-generators reaches 1% of an electric distribution company's adjusted Virginia peak-load forecast for the previous year. Net metering is available to customers of investor-owned utilities (including competitive suppliers) and electric cooperatives,

Richmond Department of Public Utilities (Gas) - Energy Conservation Tax Credits

NOTE: This program has changed from offering rebates to offering incentives as tax incentives. 

City of Richmond natural gas customers are eligible for tax credit for purchase of for efficiency natural gas technologies as part of the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) Conservation Program. Tax Credits to a maximum amount as specified above are available for high efficiency furnaces, boilers, electric heat pump water heater, and biomass stoves.  

Biomass stoves must use renewable plant derived fuel, including agricultural crops, trees, wood, wood waste, residues, grasses, and fibers.  

Please contact the Energy Services Division of City of Richmond for more information. 

Rockingham County - Small Wind Ordinance

In October 2004, the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors approved a zoning ordinance for small wind energy systems, the first of its kind in Virginia. Students at James Madison University drafted the original ordinance with guidance from members of the Virginia Wind Energy Collaborative (VWEC) and assistance from members of Rockingham County's planning board.

Although net metering is not required, the ordinance complements the state's net-metering regulations and requires compliance with the Uniform Statewide Building Code, FAA Regulations, National Electrical Code, and Virginia Regulations Governing Net Metering.

Other key provisions include:

  • Use of wind turbine must be primarily to reduce

Sales Tax Exemption for Energy-Efficient Products (Sales Tax Holiday)

NOTE: Three day Sale Tax holiday for the year 2016 is scheduled to begin on Friday, August 5 at 12 am and end on Sunday, August 7 at 11:59 pm.  

Virginia allows a three-day sales tax* exemption for dishwashers, clothes washers, air conditioners, ceiling fans, light bulb, dehumidifiers, programmable thermostat and refrigerators that meet federal ENERGY STAR standards. Certain EPA "Watersense" products may also qualify

To qualify for the incentive, the products must

  • Meet or exceed the federal ENERGY STAR or EPA’s Watersense standard
  • Be $2,500 or less per product
  • Be purchased for noncommercial or personal use.

Beginning in 2007,

Solar Easements

Virginia's solar easement law is similar to those in effect in other states. The Virginia Solar Easements Act of 1978 allows property owners to create binding solar easements for the purpose of protecting and maintaining proper access to sunlight. Easements must be executed in writing and must include:

  • The vertical and horizontal angles, expressed in degrees, at which the solar easement extends over the real property subject to the solar easement;
  • Any terms or conditions or both under which the solar easement is granted or will be terminated; and
  • Any provisions for compensation of the owner of the property subject

Solar Rights

According to state law, effective July 1, 2008, community associations in Virginia generally may not prohibit a homeowner from installing or using a solar energy collection device on their property. A community association may, however, establish reasonable restrictions concerning the size, place, manner of placement of individual solar devices or restrict the installation of solar devices on common areas within the development served by the community association. This law does not affect covenants that were in effect prior to July 1, 2008.

In the context of this law, a solar energy device is a system "manufactured and sold for the

TVA - Green Power Providers

Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and participating power distributors of TVA power offer a performance-based incentive program to homeowners and businesses for the installation of renewable generation systems from the following qualifying resources: PV, wind, hydropower, and biomass. The long term Green Power Providers program replaces the Generation Partners* pilot program. The energy generated from these renewable generation systems will count towards TVA's green power pricing program, Green Power Switch.

The Green Power Providers program contract term is 20 years. Generation credit will be paid at the following flat rates for the entirety of the 20-year contract:

•Residential/GSA-1 customers with system

TVA - Mid-Sized Renewable Standard Offer Program


The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) now compliments the small generation Green Power Providers Program by providing incentives for mid-sized renewable energy generators between 50kW and 20MW to enter into long term price contracts. The goal for total production from all participants is 100MW, with no more than 50MW from any one renewable technology. The Renewable Standard Offer program also includes Solar Solution Initiative program that offers additional financial incentives for Solar Photovoltaic (PV) projects. 

TVA bases the standard offer for customer generators off of a seasonal time-of-day averages chart, which sets base prices for the term of the contract. For

TVA - Solar Solutions Initiative

Solar Solutions Initiative (SSI) is a pilot program that offers additional financial incentives for Solar PV systems participating in the Renewable Standard Offer program. Applications for new projects for the year 2015 will open on January 2, 2015. Participants applying for the Solar Solutions Incentive program are required to apply through the Renewable Standard Offer program.

The program offers performance based incentive of $0.04/kWh for the first 10 years after the project is operational. This incentive is additional to the seasonal and time-of-day price for electricity offered through the Renewable Standard Offer program.

The total capacity for the program for

TVA Partner Utilities - Energy Right Heat Pump Program

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) EnergyRight Heat Pump Plan provides financing to promote the installation of high efficiency heat pumps in homes and small businesses. Installation, performance, and weatherization standards ensure the appropriate sizing of equipment and operation of the system. TVA maintains a Quality Contractor Network (QCN) from which customers can choose an installer. Through a third-party lender, TVA provides financing for residential heat pumps with repayment on the customer’s electric bill and a term of up to 10 years. The programs are independently administered by local power companies served by TVA.

TVA Partner Utilities - eScore Program

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in partnership with local electric utilities offers eScore program, which provides homeowners financial incentives to increase the energy efficiency of existing homes. This program replaces the previous In-Home Energy Evaluation Pilot program offered by TVA. 

To participate in the program, homeowner must create an account with the program. After the account is verified, the applicant has two options to participate in the program:

  1. Request for eScore evaluation: If the homeowner is unsure about what exact steps should be taken to increase energy efficiency, then they have a professional energy advisor evaluate their home for a

VirginiaSAVES Green Community Loan Program

The VirginiaSAVES Green Community Program provides low cost financing to private commercial and industrial, non-profits, and local governments to fund a wide range of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in the State. The program is funded through Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECB), whose use was authorized for by Governor McAuliffe through his executive order in 2014. The program is administered by CleanSource Capital, LLC under the guidance of Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy (DMME).

Interested applicants must submit a summary worksheet that describes the project, including measures being funded, vendors involved, and energy assessment. The program administrator

Voluntary Renewable Energy Portfolio Goal

As part of legislation to re-regulate the state's electricity industry, Virginia enacted a voluntary Renewable Energy Portfolio (RPS) goal in 2007. Legislation passed in 2009 (HB 1994) expanded the goal, encouraging investor-owned utilities to procure a percentage of the power sold in Virginia from eligible renewable energy sources. Legislation passed in 2012 (SB 413) allows investor-owned utilities to meet up to 20% of a renewable energy goal through certificated research and development activity expenses related to renewable energy and alternative energy sources. In addition to allowing participating utilities to recover costs for RPS programs, the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC)

Voluntary Solar Resource Development Fund

In April 2011, the Virginia legislature created the Voluntary Solar Resource Development Fund. The fund is administered by the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME). All utilities are required to provide a link on their web site to the DMME web site, where customers can make contributions to the fund. Utilities must also provide opportunities for customers to donate through their paper newsletters, emails or bills.

The fund will be used to provide loans for residential, commercial, or nonprofit solar energy projects. Qualifying solar energy projects cannot be acquired, installed or operating before July 1, 2012.

Washington Gas - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program

Washington Gas provides rebates to its residential customers for purchase of energy efficient equipment and measures in the home. Rebates are limited to natural gas furnaces and WiFi-Enabled thermostat.  Homes must receive natural gas service from Washington Gas in order to be eligible for the program. All rebate applications are available on the program website. Visit the program website for more information on equipment requirements and program procedures.