In September, the Virginia State Corporation Commission approved a Dominion Energy pilot program that will allow ratepayers to choose to receive all or part of their electricity from Virginia solar farms built by independent solar developers. The program is scheduled to go into effect by mid-March and gives renters and those with shady rooftops access to solar.
Subscribing to the program will cost customers an additional 2 cents per kilowatt-hour, even though the utility’s analysis shows that solar is the cheapest source of new electricity generation. The additional cost covers administration and marketing of the program, and reflects the fact that the solar power for this program would come from smaller solar facilities throughout the state rather than fewer large facilities. Under the statute, the cost cannot increase but could decrease over time.
Dominion describes the pilot program as “community solar,” though it differs from traditional community solar in that consumers do not have an ownership stake in the solar farm and its output, nor is the solar necessarily located nearby. — By Molly Moore