Why Commercial Solar is a Lucrative Investment in Virginia

Historically, Virginia has lagged behind neighboring states in deploying renewable energy due to outdated energy policies, regulatory roadblocks and failure to pass legislation in favor of clean energy. In the past, installing on-site commercial solar was challenging due to market limitations restricting solar energy production, and lack of incentives that prevented projects from being economically feasible. However, things have changed significantly in the last few years. Thanks to the passage of key pieces of legislation, renewable energy became a smart investment for organizations in Virginia in addition to generating thousands of jobs spurring economic growth.

The Solar Landscape in Virginia

In 2020, the Virginia Clean Economy Act established the first renewable portfolio standard (RPS) goals and solar targets for Virginia. The passage of this Act made Virginia the first Southern state in the U.S. to commit to 100% renewable energy – a huge step to advance clean energy in the state. Under the Act, 100% of electricity in Virginia is required to come from clean sources by 2050 paving the way for Virginia-based companies to transition to a more sustainable energy model.

For distributed solar and energy storage, this act:

  • Establishes on-site solar as a portion of the RPS up to 1% of the annual goals
  • Increases the cap on power purchase agreements to 1000MW in Dominion territory and 40MW in ApCo service territories.
  • Expands net metering by increasing the net metering cap to 6%, including 1% specifically set aside for low-to-moderate income communities
  • Allows larger projects to net meter
  • 3,100MW target for energy storage by 2035, including 2,700MW for Dominion and 400MW for ApCo
  • Requires 10% of energy storage projects to be deployed directly “behind the meter” for power backups at hospitals, and government facilities.

In addition to the Clean Economy Act, the Virginia Department of Energy passed Virginia’s 2022 Energy Plan at the end of 2022 to continue to support the growth of renewable energy within the state. Through this plan Virginia recognizes the opportunities of energy innovation, economic development, and job creation that enabling renewable energy can bring.

These incentives create significant and immediate opportunities to reduce the cost of commercial solar and energy storage and provide higher energy savings for organizations looking to adopt renewable energy.

How companies in Virginia can benefit
from commercial solar

A simple no cost solution to deploy solar for your organization is to use a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) structure with a company like DSD. With our PPA, the customer receives the benefit of solar with no capital expense and benefits from immediate lower utility bills and protection against volatile fuel prices.

Historically, utility rates keep going up every year in the United States. Since 2003 there has been 60% increase in the average retail price of electricity in Virginia. Purchasing renewable energy through a PPA allows customers to lock predictable rates for 20-25 years and guarantee savings and protection against utility increases.

DSD is one of the first commercial solar developers in Virginia with an on-site solar system installed that meets the one percent portion of the Act carved out for distributed generation. With the additional value created for Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) through the Act and DSD’s highly effective, low-cost capital stack, we’re able to provide customers interested in commercial solar market-winning Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) energy rates.

With DSD’s PPA, we are the long-term owner and operator of the system, which means all the maintenance required for the duration of the agreement is DSD’s responsibility. In addition, having DSD as the owner and operator of your projects means that our interests are always aligned and your organization de-risks having on-site solar power your facility.

Benefits of a Solar Power Purchase Agreement:

  • Immediate savings with no capital expense
  • Protection from future energy rate increases
  • Operations and maintenance included
  • Demonstrate your business’ commitment to sustainability.

Check out how The Village of Orchard Ridge became one of the first organizations to adopt solar power in Virginia and is now leveraging the benefits of renewable energy

If your company is interested in taking advantage of the current solar opportunities in Virginia, please get in touch with me. I’d be happy to prepare a solar analysis for your organization and show how your company can save significantly on your electricity bills, advance your sustainability goals and support Virginia becoming a leader in renewable energy in the U.S.

Qualifying attributes include:

  • You have a minimum of 75,000 square foot (or more) rooftop.
  • Your roof system(s) is 10 years old or newer.
  • Or, you have at least 3 acres of adjacent land on the same tax parcel as your business

Take the first step.

Getting the ball rolling on your project may seem complicated. But we’re here to show you how it’s done. It all starts with a first step.