The Solar Purchase Program is a pilot program designed to help eligible Virginia customers cover the cost of adding solar generation to their property.
Participants in this program will install and own the solar generation system but sell the electricity and solar Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) back to Dominion Energy at a premium rate of 15 cents per kilowatt-hour. Participating customers will continue to purchase all of the electricity for their home or business from the company on their current rate schedule.
Why is Dominion Energy offering this program?
There is a growing interest in renewable energy and the cost of solar systems has declined over the years providing more customers with the financial means to install these systems on their homes and businesses. Additionally, we want to provide customers with options while growing solar generation in the Commonwealth.
How does the program work?
Participating customers will install and own the solar generation system, but sell the electricity and solar Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) back to Dominion Energy at a premium rate of 15 cents per kilowatt-hour. Participating customers will purchase all of the electricity for their home or business from the company on their current rate schedule. The solar Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) purchased in conjunction with this program will be retired by Dominion Energy through the Dominion Green Power® program.
What is the Dominion Energy Green Power® program?
Dominion Energy Green Power® is a voluntary program offered by Dominion Energy that provides an easy and affordable way to support the development and production of renewable energy in Virginia and our surrounding region. Through the program, we purchase Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) on behalf of the customer in the amount they specify. Participants can match 100 percent of their electricity use or they can buy 154 kilowatt-hour blocks of renewable energy for $2 each. The charges for these purchases are added to the participating customer’s bill.
When did the program become available?
We began accepting applications for the Solar Purchase Program on June 20, 2013, with customers reserving space online and participating on a first-come, first-served basis.
How long will the program be available?
The pilot program will run for an initial five-year period. Reservations will be accepted through June 30, 2018.
On Friday, June 8, 2018, the Company requested Virginia State Corporation Commission approval to allow the agreements between participating Solar Purchase customers and Dominion Energy to continue renewing annually after the initial five-year period until either party gives written notice of termination. Energy purchased during the renewal term will continue to be purchased at 15 cents per kilowatt hour. SCC approval for this request is pending and the results will be communicated with customers.
If the program is not renewed, customers will be notified and given the option to move to another program (net metering or other future options) or go back to their regular residential or commercial rate.
Can I leave the program before the five-year contract period expires?
Participants in the Solar Purchase Program can terminate their agreement with Dominion Energy at any time by providing thirty days advance written notice to this email address. The notice should contain the participant’s name, address, phone number, Dominion Energy account number, reason for termination, and the date in which they would like the termination to become effective.
Please note that once early termination has been granted, the customer will not be eligible to apply for the Solar Purchase Program again until the expiration of the five-year demonstration period.
What is the difference between the Solar Purchase Program and Net Metering?
The Solar Purchase program is a buy-all, sell-all program. Participants will have a second Dominion Energy meter installed that will measure the electricity generated by the solar system. All of the electricity generated by the solar system will be sold to Dominion Energy at 15 cents per kilowatt-hour. The purchase amount will first be applied as a credit to the customer’s bill. If there is a credit that exceeds the bill amount by more than $1 for any billing period, the customer may request that the credit be sent in the form of a check.
With Net Metering, a participating customer has only one meter and the solar generation is used predominately to offset electrical usage of the residence or business it is installed on. If more electricity is generated than is needed by that customer, the meter captures the amount of excess energy returned to the grid, and a “credit” is recorded to offset future energy delivered from the grid to the customer. Additionally, the participating customer owns all renewable energy attributes associated with the energy generated.
If I participate in the Solar Purchase Program, can I still claim the environmental benefits (or renewable energy attributes) associated with renewable energy generation?
No. By participating in the Solar Purchase Program, you are selling both the electricity generated and the renewable energy attributes to Dominion Energy. Since all rights associated with the energy are sold to the company, you cannot claim the environmental benefits, or make the claim that you are using the renewable energy generated by your solar system. The purchased renewable energy attributes, in the form of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) will be retired by us through the Dominion Green Power® program in accordance with Green-e Energy® program requirements.
If a customer participating in the Solar Purchase Program also participates in the Dominion Green Power program, they can claim the energy matched through the Green Power program as renewable.
Interested customers should fill out the online reservation form. Reservations will be accepted through June 30, 2018. You must provide all information requested to be considered for participation.
What information do I need for the online reservation form?
We will need basic contact information, your Dominion Energy account number and details about your solar project, specifically the size of your proposed system (in kilowatts). Be sure to include your email address as this is the preferred form of communication for this program.
Who can participate?
Residential and non-residential (commercial, jurisdictional) customers meeting the eligibility requirements may be able to participate, provided the program has not met the maximum megawatts of interconnected solar generation.
Customer must have a current Dominion Energy Virginia account at the location where the generation system is to be installed.
Must be presently served under Schedules 1, 1P, or 1S.
System must be 20kW AC capacity or less.
Must be a commercial and/or jurisdictional customer. County and Municipal entities (non-jurisdictional) are not eligible to participate at this time.
Customer must have a current Dominion Energy Virginia account at the location where the generation system is to be installed.
Must be presently served under Schedules GS-1, GS-2, GS-2T, 5C, or 5P.
System must be 50kW AC capacity or less.
Is there a fee to apply?
There is no fee to apply for the program; however a $100 non-refundable processing fee is required with the interconnection notification to be accepted into the program if space is available.
Does the solar generation system need to be installed before I apply?
No. You have up to six months to complete the system installation once you return your completed paperwork and are accepted into the program.
Is there a limit to how much electricity my system can produce to qualify for the Solar Purchase Program?
Yes. The system size (measured in system kW capacity AC) cannot exceed 20 kW for residential systems, or 50 kW for non-residential systems.
Additionally, the inverter output should match the service characteristics (voltage and phasing) provided to the premise. Solar generation systems with an output that exceeds the existing service capacity (Amps) can result in additional charges for interconnection.
Are there additional installation costs to participate in the program?
Yes. A second meter must be installed at your home or business in order for us to measure the electricity generated by your solar system. Your system will have to be configured for the second meter, and you may have additional costs for wiring alterations required to enable the second meter to be installed.
The alterations will need to be performed by your electrical contractor or solar installation firm before we can install the second meter. Once you have been accepted into the program a Dominion Energy representative will be assigned to assist your electrical contractor or solar installation firm with the wiring requirements necessary to interconnect your system.
Is a "stand by" charge applicable to participants in the Solar Purchase Program?
No. The “stand by” charge does not apply to this program since all of the electricity required for use at the business or residence is purchased under the Solar Purchase Program rate.
Is there a monthly charge for the second meter?
Yes. For single phase service capacity at 200 amps or less, the monthly charge will be $2.80. For single phase 320 amp capacity, the charge will be $4.40 per month. For single phase and three phase services requiring CT (Current Transformer) rated metering equipment, the monthly charge will be $7.80. These charges will be reflected on the participant’s monthly bill.
Am I automatically accepted into the program once I submit my online reservation form?
No. Program participation is limited and will be administered on a first-come first-served basis for qualifying installations. Applicants will be notified via email as space is available, and will be considered accepted into the program once we have received a fully executed interconnection notification form, service agreement and W-9.
It is suggested that potential participants submit the completed interconnection form, service agreement and W-9 within 60 days. Failure to submit the forms within the specified timeframe may result in losing your reserved space in the program. Once your completed paperwork is submitted and approved, you will have six months to complete your installation.
How will I know if and when I am accepted after I complete the online reservation form?
If there is available space in the program, we will send you an application package which includes a Virginia Level 1 Interconnection Request Form, a Solar Purchase Program Service Agreement, and an IRS W-9 form. It is suggested that you submit your completed paperwork within 60 days to retain your reserved space in the program. Once your completed paperwork is submitted and approved, you are considered accepted into the program.
Once you are accepted into the program, a work request number will be created, and a Dominion Energy representative will be assigned to assist you with completing the work required to interconnect your system. You will have up to six months to complete your installation from the date your completed paperwork is received and approved.
How will Dominion Energy pay me for the electricity I produce?
We will purchase all of the electricity you produce (and Renewable Energy Certificates, or RECs) at 15 cents per kilowatt-hour. Each month, the value of your generated electricity will be applied to your account as a credit.
At the end of any month, if your account has credits in excess of $1, you may request that a check be issued to you for the credited amount.
How many people will be able to participate in the Solar Purchase Program?
As a pilot, the program is limited to a total of 3 megawatts (or 3,000 kilowatts) of generation. Of that amount, approximately 60 percent will be dedicated to residential customers and 40 percent will be available for non-residential customers. A typical residential solar installation in Virginia has a 4.24 kW AC capacity. A maximum of 475 customers could potentially participate in the program.
How can I tell if there is space left in the program for me to participate?
The approximate available kW capacity left will be posted on our program webpage. The available kW is broken down by residential and non-residential.
Can I Net Meter and also be in the Solar Purchase Program?
No. To participate in the Solar Purchase Program, customers must sell all of their generated electricity and Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to Dominion Energy.
Net Metering customers may switch to the Solar Purchase Program provided their solar RECs have not been committed to another party, their solar generation system size is within the program limits and space is available in the Solar Purchase Program.
I already have solar panels on my property. Can I participate?
Yes. Customers with existing solar installations may switch to the Solar Purchase Program provided their solar RECs have not been committed to another party, their solar generation system size is within the program limits and space is available in the Solar Purchase Program.
Can County or Municipal entities participate in the Solar Purchase Program?
No. Only Virginia residential and non-residential (commercial/jurisdictional) customers may participate. County and Municipal entities (non-jurisdictional) are not eligible to participate at this time.
Is a similar program available for North Carolina customers?
A similar program is not currently available to our North Carolina customers.
How much does a typical solar installation cost?
We are unable to provide an accurate estimate for potential participants because there are too many variables (solar panel manufacturer and model, roof type, racking, square footage, etc.) that can impact the cost. We suggest contacting a qualified solar contractor for a quote.
Who should install my solar system?
Dominion Energy Virginia does not recommend specific solar system types or installers but we do suggest using a solar installer who is certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).
Will Dominion Energy be reporting payments for generation to the IRS?
We will issue 1099’s to report payments made for generation as required by law.
Generally speaking, the gross amount of compensation credited to a participant’s account for solar output generated is includable as gross income for federal and state income tax purposes, regardless of funds actually received.
We will report such income to the program participant and to federal and state tax authorities as required by applicable law.
Are there other tax consequences I should be aware of?
Dominion Energy does not, and cannot provide tax advice to customers on the tax-related implications for your solar generation. Customers interested in participating in the Solar Purchase Program should consult their own tax advisers with respect to the specific federal, state, local or other tax consequences.
Will the company report the program's progress?
Yes. We will track the program’s key metrics and report annual updates to the Virginia State Corporation Commission with a final comprehensive report submitted within 90 days of the conclusion of the Solar Purchase Program.
What is Dominion Energy doing to support renewable energy?
We are committed to doing our part to reach the Commonwealth of Virginia's goal of 15% electricity from renewable sources by 2025. The company continues to expand its renewable generation portfolio to help achieve this goal.
Are there different ways I can support renewable energy through Dominion Energy?
Yes. One of the easiest ways is to join the Dominion Energy Green Power® program. Approximately 25,000 Virginia customers are currently participating in this voluntary program that allows customers to support wind, solar and biomass production and development easily and affordably on their monthly bill.
The Dominion Energy Green Power® program and the renewable energy certificates (RECs) purchased for the program are Green-e Energy certified. These certifications mean that:
We purchase and retire enough RECs to meet participating customer demand;
The RECs purchased for this program come from renewable energy facilities that meet Green-e standards;
Green-e standards require that the RECs purchased through Dominion Energy Green Power are from “New” renewable facilities that have come online no earlier than 1998 and that they are only used once, then retired;
The customer education and program marketing materials provided by this program are accurate and disclose relevant program details, terms, and conditions.
Green-e Energy® is the nation's leading voluntary certification program for renewable energy. Green-e Energy rel="noopener noreferrer" is a program of the Center for Resource Solutions, a national nonprofit organization working to mitigate climate change by building policies and consumer-protection mechanisms in renewable energy, greenhouse gas reductions and energy efficiency.
For over a decade, Green-e Energy has been certifying renewable energy that meets the environmental and consumer protection standards, highlighted in the Green-e National Standard, that was developed in conjunction with leading environmental, energy and policy organizations such as the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, and the Union of Concerned Scientists.