The Solar Purchase Program is a pilot program designed to help eligible Virginia customers cover the cost of adding solar generation to their property. Participating customers 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 purchase all of the electricity for their home or business from the company on their current rate schedule. The solar RECs purchased in conjunction with this program will be retired by Dominion Energy through the Dominion Energy 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.
What is the current status of the Solar Purchase program?
The pilot program was available for customer enrollment for a five-year period, through June 30, 2018. Agreements between participating customers (those enrolled by June 30, 2018) and Dominion Energy have a five-year term from the agreement-start date. After the five year term, the agreements will renew annually until either the customer or the Company gives written notice of termination. Energy purchased during the renewal term will continue to be purchased at 15 cents per kilowatt hour.
I received a letter from Dominion Energy dated June 29, 2018. What does it mean?
The SCC required the Company to notify customers of the request made on Friday, June 8, 2018 (see FAQ above). A letter was mailed to participating Solar Purchase customers on June 29, 2018. Customers are not required to take any action. The letter is simply informing participating customers that the Company requested SCC approval to allow 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.
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.
Is there a limit to how much electricity my system can produce 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 $2.69. For single phase 320 amp capacity, the charge will be $4.23 per month. For single phase and three phase services requiring CT (Current Transformer) rated metering equipment, there is an additional charge. 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 is administered on a first-come first-served basis for qualifying installations. Applicants are notified via email if 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.
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.
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.
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.