Update: Big Wins for Solar in First Half of VA General Assembly

Update: Big Wins for Solar in First Half of VA General Assembly

Your help is needed to cross the finish line. Scroll down to see how you can take action!

We've got great news to report from Richmond. During the first half of the legislative session, solar had a lot of big wins. Many bills that will remove barriers to solar or help lay the groundwork for solar expansion were passed through the House and Senate. Now we've reached "crossover," the period in which the House will hear the Senate bills and vice versa, and final versions will be approved. Specifically, we're keeping our eyes on the Virginia Clean Economy Act (HB 1562/SB851), but many other bills have made it through as well - this is great news so far!

The Virginia Clean Economy Act is an ambitious plan to transition the Commonwealth to 100% clean energy by 2050, create tens of thousands of renewable energy jobs, reduce our state's carbon emissions and dramatically expand access to rooftop solar. The rooftop solar industry strongly supports the Clean Economy Act because it means access to solar for all Virginians.

Key Solar Components of the VA Clean Economy Act:

  • Mandates the use of rooftop solar as part of the Renewable Portfolio Standard, creating a competitive market and incentivizing the use of rooftop solar.
  • Lifts the cap on net metering to allow customers to receive a fair credit for their investments into the electric grid. The cap will be raised from one percent to six percent of a utility’s peak load.
  • Raises the cap on power purchase agreements (PPAs) to allow third-party financed PPA projects across Virginia to proceed. The House bill raises the PPA cap to 1000MW. The Senate bill raises the cap to 500MW.
  • Includes specific provisions to expand solar access to low- and moderate-income (LMI) customers. The bill requires 25% of rooftop solar to be deployed to low-income communities, sets aside 1% of net metering service to LMI customers, and allows LMI customers to earn full retail credit.
  • Reduces monthly electricity bills for all Virginians.

More solar bills to watch:

Solar Freedom, (HB572/SB710) The House version of the Solar Freedom bill includes a municipality net metering provision which would allow the Lorton landfill solar project to be built, and the power generated from it to be used on adjacent government buildings. The Senate version does not include this language, so your Senator needs to hear that you would like them to endorse the house version.

HOA Solar bill, (HB414/SB504) The bill clarifies restrictions an HOA can put on a homeowner's solar project. Specifically, it says HOAs can not instruct the homeowner to make changes to a project that would increase the cost by more than 5%, or decrease the expected output by more than 10%.

Community Solar bill, (SB629) This bill creates a program for "solar gardens" which allow homeowners who may not have a roof suitable for solar to purchase solar energy.

Take Action:

Thank you all for your hard work to help solar - we're nearing the end so let's keep up the great work! There are two ways you can take action to help these bills across the finish line. 

  1. Contact your Delegate and Senator and let them know you support these bills. Find your legislators' names, emails and numbers here
  2. Contact the Senators on the Commerce and Labor committee and ask them to Please support the House version of the Virginia Clean Economy Act.

Contact for Senate C&L committee members:

Dick Saslaw, Chair D35
(804) 698-7535
district35@senate.virginia.gov
@DickSaslaw

Louise Lucas D18
(804) 698-7518
district18@senate.virginia.gov
@SenLouiseLucas

Lionell Spruill Sr. D5
(804) 698-7505
district05@senate.virginia.gov
@SenLSpruillSr

John Edwards D21
(804) 698-7521
district21@senate.virginia.gov
@Edwards4VA

Creigh Deeds D25
(804) 698-7525
district25@senate.virginia.gov
@CreighDeeds


George Barker D39
(804) 698-7539
district39@senate.virginia.gov
@GeorgeLBarker

Dave Marsden D37
(804) 698-7537
district37@senate.virginia.gov
@SenDaveMarsden

Adam Ebbin D30
(804) 698-7530
district30@senate.virginia.gov
@AdamEbbin

Lynwood Lewis D6
(804) 698-7506
district06@senate.virginia.gov
@LynwoodLewis

Scott Surovell D36
(804) 698-7536
district36@senate.virginia.gov
@SSurovell

Monty Mason D1
(804) 698-7501
district01@senate.virginia.gov
@SenMMason

John Bell D13
(804) 698-7513
district13@senate.virginia.gov
@SenatorJohnBell

Check out our policy page for more info, and read up on where other important bills stand at crossover. Thanks so much for taking action and helping to keep solar energy available for all Virginians! null

 

 

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