January 18, 2019 | Blog, customer, customers, energy, power, state, virginia | Write comment

Lift the cap and expand PPAs: our top solar policy goals in Virginia

Ipsun Solar’s Marketing Manager has some updates to share about proposed legislation in Virginia to help make the state even friendlier for solar energy projects going forward:

On January 24th, Ipsun Solar will be joining dozens of enthusiastic citizens who support solar, many of who have solar installed at their homes, as well as other solar installation companies and organizations for a Solar Freedom Lobby Day.

I’m excited to participate on behalf of our company on Thursday, and I’ll be telling committee members my story about why this solar legislation matters to me (and if you can attend the day of action in Richmond, you can too!)

One homeowner's solar story

My husband and I recently became homeowners. After 8 years of enjoying apartment living in Virginia, Washington DC, and North Carolina, we we thrilled this past summer to have the opportunity to buy a house in Arlington. At age 31, we’re among the first in our circles of friends to be buying a house. We know our generation has a rap for putting off home-buying longer, and honestly the ability to go solar is now one of the things we are most excited about.

Now that we own a property with good solar potential, we are already in the middle of planning a solar project. The house dates to 1905 but has a nice addition with south-facing roof space that’s ideal for solar, and we hope to wind up with a solar energy system that can supply about half the electricity we’ll use annually on average. Dominion Power’s program called net energy metering will help the economics make sense: Any time we’re producing more power than we need, the surplus will go out to the grid and we will get full value credit for that energy. We feel strongly that this arrangement is something every solar customer deserves, but currently there is a total limit on how many customers can do this.

As our friends and neighbors consider going solar, it’s imperative that they have access to this program and the favorable solar economics it provides.

This recent policy blog from Secure Futures Solar talks more about the opportunity before the legislature this year and residents of the Commonwealth of Virginia should expect our delegates and senators to take bold steps to empower us to own a solar installation and get credited for our solar in a way that makes financial sense.

Up with PPAs

solar-2796471_960_720-1Solar isn’t just for homeowners though - for larger energy users, there are ways to set up a solar project so that the client doesn’t have to deal with an enormous upfront cost.

One is the Power Purchase Agreement. In principle, it means that just as a customer has the freedom to purchase solar equipment and components and have them installed on their property to supply energy, the customer should also have the ability to have components installed that the customer does not own, rather a 3rd party other than the customer or the utility owns the system and the customer purchases the all-renewable power to offset utility costs.

Making these contracts lawful statewide would address a major need in Virginia. If you want to see more large solar projects in your community including at schools, churches, government buildings and commercial and industrial facilities, this is a policy area to watch.

Old Dominion, New Power Dynamics

IMG_9020-1Virginia is more supportive of solar energy than ever, and as prevailing attitudes become even more positive thanks in part to large solar projects by big corporations coming into the state, it’s time we reflect that in the legislative environment around solar.

Customers around the state are saving money on their electric costs every month and every day thanks to solar, plus it’s increasing home values, boosting business’ bottom lines and allowing customers a greater degree of energy independence, autonomy, and self-reliance. Illogical and counterproductive hurdles need to come down this year to accelerate our state’s adoption of reliable, distributed solar energy. Advocates for solar freedom in Virginia have an 8-point proposed package of fixes for this year to enable lots more solar projects, summed up here.

Sign up to attend Solar Freedom Lobby Day and be there to have your voice heard!

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