Is rooftop solar really everything that it should be?
Not according to some advocates of solar energy solutions in local communities. Many are pointing out that big utility providers like Dominion have seemed less than enthused about adding net metering and other services for those who institute their own smaller rooftop projects to complement the big solar farms promoted by Governer McAuliffe and often maintained by big companies like Amazon.
Some are scratching their heads wondering why, in an age where solar is truly reaching cost-effectiveness, and so many people are on board with getting their power from the sun, the jump in small rooftop solar doesn’t seem to match demand.
In a recent online piece detailing some of the issues with solar progress, Dr. Irene Leach, a Virginia Tech professor, suggests utilities may have gotten some assurances from state politicians that they don’t need to worry so much about supporting small solar projects.
Central to the issue is the practice of “net metering” where those with solar generation get credits from utilities for unused electricity. Experts are reporting on the process of sitting down with Dominion to continue to look at net metering policies. Although in 2014 Dominion made headline for trying to stymie net metering benefits, some close to the process are now reporting that the current net metering benefits could stay in place. There are particular debates around the practice of agricultural net metering and how farmers can use solar installations on their properties, as noted in Ivy Mains’ writing on current solar conditions in Virginia.
Individual business owners and others are getting proactive about trying to change policy: journalists and others are writing about Dominion’s participation in an effort by Mark Rubin of Virginia Commonwealth University to try to evoke a consensus, sometimes called “the Rubin group.” Business owners are trying to stick up for their ability to profit from ground-breaking investments in solar energy – at a rooftop level, not just a corporate level.
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