Solar PPAs like the Fairfax County Solar Initiative are not allowed in Virginia anymore. The law has to change.

Solar PPAs like the Fairfax County Solar Initiative are not allowed in Virginia anymore. The law has to change.

 
When Ipsun Solar talks to a potential client, we always present different financing options. Our customers are residential, commercial and government institutions and we work in multiple States that have many options. One of these is a PPA, or Power Purchase Agreement.
 
This is a financial mechanism that allows people, businesses and governments to go solar, produce clean power and save on their utility bills without having to make a financial investment. In a PPA, the building owner gets solar installed at no cost, and then the financial institution or solar company owns the system and bills the building owner for their power at a reduced rate. In Virginia, a PPA pilot program was established in 2013 that is available to non-profit and government institutions only. As part of this pilot program, in 2019 Ipsun was chosen as one of the companies to install the Fairfax County Solar PPA project. 
 
The Fairfax County Solar PPA Initiative is the largest PPA project ever awarded to a municipality in VA and is hailed as a major step forward for Fairfax County's sustainability goals. The project has the potential to avoid the emissions of more than 1.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. But because there is an arbitrary 50 megawatt cap on the Virginia PPA program, we can't go forward. When we logged on to the State Corporation Commission website about the PPA pilot program, this is what we saw:

**This Pilot is now fully subscribed and no further Notices of Intent will be accepted**

SCC screenshot

source accessed on 01/14/2029: https://www.scc.virginia.gov/pur/pilot.aspx

Bob Lazaro, the Executive Director at the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, said, "The solar PPA program in Virginia no longer accepting new applications as the program has reached the arbitrary and minimal 50MW cap. Time to substantially increase or eliminate in its entirety and allow the free market to decide. Lifting cap for our local governments will allow them to invest in sustainability jobs and save taxpayer dollars."

It is not acceptable to think that we could have solar on a large number of schools in one of the biggest school districts in the country, and that the project can't go forward because of an arbitrary cap imposed by legislation that needs updating. This must be changed as soon as possible. Ipsun will be asking legislators to enact the Solar Freedom Bill and the Clean Economy Act in order to establish a PPA program that includes all types of customers and has no arbitrary cap. 

We hope you'll join us in this effort! Read more on our policy page, and then click through the links you find there to take action!

 

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