Thursday, January 30, 2014

Virginia: Dominion’s plan to hijack community net metering

Want to quadruple the potential market for solar in Virginia? The answer is to open up the benefits of solar ownership to renters, people with shaded roofs, and others who can’t install solar panels on their own property. Several legislators have been working with the solar industry to take a step in that direction this year. Senator Edwards (SB 350) and Delegates Krupicka (HB 906) and Yost (HB 879) introduced bills that would allow residents of multi-family housing communities like condominiums to band together to purchase a solar system, with all the participants able to claim a credit on their utility bills for their share of the energy generated.

Virginia’s utilities don’t want to see this happen. When people install solar systems, they buy less power from their utility, which otherwise has a monopoly on the generation and sale of electricity.

Now Dominion Virginia Power thinks it has figured out a way to hijack the bills. It proposes to scrap the community net metering language that’s in there now and substitute language that would give the utility the exclusive right to build and own community systems and sell the power to the customers.

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