Anyone who’s been paying attention to Virginia state government policy and infrastructure development knows that solar is making its way into the picture. In a new digital report called “2017 Guide to Virginia Wind and Solar Policy,” Ivy Main describes Virginia’s solar boom from the perspective of someone who’s familiar with the state energy markets.
Main writes that “the nationwide boom in utility-scale solar has hit Virginia full force” and describes some of the factors in play. It’s not just low panel prices, she says, although solar infrastructure costs have come down. It’s not just government tax policy, either. Another factor that Main mentions is very relevant to the solar energy question — Virginia residents, she said, can often find good sites near transmission lines, which can make solar projects more feasible.
“We are a long way from unleashing our full potential,” Main writes. “In spite of this, Virginia is now attracting hundreds of millions of dollars in solar energy investments, and today the solar industry employs more of our residents than the coal industry.”
That’s saying a lot, as various corporate interests are still trying to revive the coal industry in Appalachia. At a time when renewable energy is becoming so much easier to harvest, most credible analysts would see any coal revival as a short-term phenomenon.
Later on in the report, Main contrasts the state of Virginia’s solar building record with those of other states in the region, finding that Virginia’s overall installed capacity at the end of 2016 was 238,000 kilowatts, or 238 megawatts. For reference, Maryland built 637 megawatts, while Tennessee built 171, and West Virginia built only 3.4.
In documenting the state of Virginia’s utility business, Main answers a big question — can Virginia residents access solar energy and sell it back to the grid?
Noting that Virginia’s largest utilities, Dominion and Appalachian power, have not instituted straightforward green power purchase plans, Main said most customers who want 100% solar energy need to build infrastructure themselves. Citing Virginia code 56-594, Main describes how it is possible to sell energy back to the grid, so that solar users are only charged for their net use.
All of this is exciting news for business owners or property owners who may have been on the fence about investing in a new solar project. There is the ability to easily scale these projects according to your needs, and the option of cutting your energy bills by installing solar panels somewhere on a property.
Sun Day Solar can help those in the Central Virginia area who may have concerns or questions about how to start out with a solar plan. Ask us about available government grants and tax incentives, and the most practical ways to put in place solar projects that will generate a lot of green electricity locally. Get in on the ground floor of the solar revolution and make your business or property a shining example of green power and sustainability.