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West Virginia Rebates and Incentives Summary

West Virginia“Take me home country road.” Ah, West Virginia, home of the Blue Ridge Mountains, wild, untamed country—or is it? West Virginia, while home to gorgeous green mountains, also has a much blacker side—its history with coal. In recent years, this Appalachian state has made national headlines numerous times for deadly coal mine incidents, including one in 2010 that claimed the lives of 29 miners. Maybe it should look to more of its natural resources for renewable energy supplies.

While the state has made some inroads to building its renewable energy industry, West Virginia is still dominated by its coal industry. It offers residents some incentives, a tax credit, and a net-metering policy to convert to renewable energy. But it also focuses on helping residents adopt energy-efficient products to help them reduce their energy use.

The mountains and forests of West Virginia make it a great place for outdoor enthusiasts with some of the world’s best white-water rafting as well as fishing, hiking, mountain biking, skiing, hunting and more. But they don’t make it a great place for renewable wind or solar.

In fact, it’s the southernmost state that gets an average of about 4 kilowatt hours of sunlight per meter squared, per day. Even Maryland and Virginia, its eastern neighbors, get more sunlight. In addition, the state’s wind resources are limited to an eastern band of the state, where the Appalachian Mountains cross over the state.

Since West Virginia is a major coal producer, it’s also a large consumer of the fossil fuel, with 90 percent of the state’s consumption going to electricity production. And the overwhelming majority of West Virginia’s electricity comes from coal-fired power plants, with smaller amounts coming from hydroelectric dams on some of the state’s rivers. West Virginia’s energy consumption on a per capita basis is relatively low. However, the state is a major exporter of electricity, beat only by Pennsylvania in terms of electricity exported.

Despite this dark-power past, it’s almost a surprise that the state adopted a renewable energy portfolio. But it has. The state’s Alternative and Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard requires investor-owned utilities (IOUs) to provide 25 percent of their generating capacity with renewable or alternative energy by 2025. While the alternative verbiage will allow a lot of the power to continue to come from non-renewable resources, the legislation does limit natural gas as a portion of the total to 10 percent.

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Building Energy Code

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 websites.

The West Virginia State Fire Commission is responsible for adopting and promulgating statewide construction codes. These codes may be voluntarily adopted at the local level. Local jurisdictions must adopt the statewide requirements in order to enforce them at the local level. For jurisdictions that adopt the statewide codes, compliance is determined by plan review and inspection by local

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Interconnection Standards

In 2006, West Virginia stakeholders came together to consider net metering, interconnection as required by the Federal Energy Policy Act (2005) and agreed upon a "Statement of Consensus Among Parties," which was presented to and accepted by the West Virginia Public Service Commission (PSC) in December 2006. The consensus agreement did include interconnection guidelines for the state, however, the PSC did not initiate a formal rule-making or incorporate the guidelines into agency rules. Rather, the interconnection guidelines were incorporated into utility net metering tariffs (which are proposed by the utilities). In 2010, the PSC opened a docket to reconsider net
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Net Metering

Note: HB 2201 of 2015 requires the Public Utility Commission to investigate and adopt new net metering and interconnection rules. The bill prohibits cross-subsidization of ratepayers potentially caused by net metering tariffs and limits IOUs from allowing more than 3% of aggregate load to be generated by solar power. The Commission opened a new proceeding (GO 258.3) in September 2018 to investigate the state's net metering rules. The summary below describes the current net metering rules. 
Eligibility and AvailabilityNet metering in West Virginia is available to all retail electricity customers. System capacity limits vary depending on the
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Tax Exemption for Renewable Energy Generation

In March 2007, West Virginia enacted legislation (SB 441) amending its tax law concerning the business and operation (B&O) tax for wind turbines. Although SB 441 increased the taxable value of wind turbine generating capacity, the taxation level is still significantly lower than that of most other types of electricity generation. For most types of newly constructed electricity-generating units, the B&O tax is calculated by multiplying a pre-determined dollar amount by 40% of the nameplate capacity rating of the generating unit. However, the B&O tax on wind turbines is multiplied by only 12% of the nameplate capacity rating

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West Virginia Solar Rights

In March 2012, West Virginia enacted legislation (H.B. 2740) that restricts housing associations from prohibiting solar energy systems on homes. Any governing document executed or recorded after June 8, 2012, that effectively prohibits or restricts the installation or use of a solar energy system is void and unenforceable. However, housing association members may vote to establish or remove a restriction that prohibits or restricts the installation or use of a solar energy system.

A solar energy system is defined as "a system affixed to a building or buildings that uses solar devices, which are thermally isolated from living space or any

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