Net Metering FAQs
What is Net Metering?
Net Metering allows customers to interconnect approved renewable generation systems to the electric grid and provide electricity to their residence or facility. The electricity provided by the renewable generation system offsets electricity that would have been delivered to the customer by Dominion Energy.
Net Metering rules in Virginia are administered by the Virginia State Corporation Commission and published in the Virginia Administrative Code under 20VAC5-315. Dominion Energy Virginia’s Net Metering Terms and Conditions are published in Section XXV of the “Terms and Conditions for the Provision of Electric Service.”
What is a renewable energy generation system?
The Virginia Administrative Code Section 56-576 defines renewable energy as “… energy derived from sunlight, wind, falling water, biomass, sustainable or otherwise, (the definitions of which shall be liberally construed), energy from waste, landfill gas, municipal solid waste, wave motion, tides, and geothermal power, and does not include energy derived from coal, oil, natural gas, or nuclear power…”
Batteries may be included as part of a renewable generation system, but do not qualify as a renewable generation source by themselves.
How does Net Metering work?
Once a Net Metering Notification Form has been approved, a special billing meter is installed that can measure both the quantity of and the direction that the electricity is flowing. The energy your system generates is first used by your home or business. When your renewable generation system is making more electricity than you are using at the time, the excess electricity is recorded by the meter as it flows back into the grid which will be used to offset future electric use. When you are using more energy than your renewable generation system is producing at the time, the electricity from the grid is recorded as it is delivered to your home or business.
What does Meter Aggregation mean and what is Agricultural Net Metering?
Aggregating multiple meters under a single account is a separate process from establishing Net Metering. Meter aggregation is coordinated through Dominion Energy’s design and contracts departments. It can take several months to develop the associated monthly charges.
Meter aggregation is handled as a request for excess facilities which is covered in Section IV.E.4 of Dominion Energy’s filed Terms and Conditions. The customer is charged monthly for a percentage of the cost difference in the installed value of the facilities required to serve the customer at multiple metering points versus the same load at a single metering point. The greater the distance between the metering points and/or the more electrical distribution separating the meter points, the higher the monthly facilities charge. All the facilities involved must physically be located on the same contiguous property.
Virginia Agricultural Net Metering allows an alternate definition of “contiguous property” and meter aggregation for qualifying agricultural businesses. To participate, customers must first qualify as an “Agricultural Business” which is defined as “any sole proprietorship, corporation, partnership, electing small business (Subchapter S) corporation, or limited liability company engaged primarily in the production and sale of plants and animals, products collected from plants and animals, or plants and animal services useful to the public” in Section 56-576 of the Virginia Administrative Code.
What is the Virginia Third Party PPA (“Renewable Energy”) Pilot Program?
Who is eligible for Net Metering?
Any residential, commercial, or governmental customer who is served on a standard rate schedule, or a demand based time of use rate schedule, which allows a parallel generator interconnection may participate in Net Metering. Jurisdictional Customers served on the rate schedules below are eligible to net meter. Please consult Dominion Energy for other rates that may qualify.
Net Metering Compatible Rate Schedules
- VA Schedule 1 - NC Schedule 1
- VA Schedule 1S - NC Schedule 1P
- VA Schedule GS-1 - NC Schedule IT
- VA Schedule GS-2 and GS-2T - NC Schedule 5C
- VA Schedule GS-3 and CS-3T - NC Schedule 5P
- VA Schedule 10
Net Metering is not compatible with Dominion Energy Virginia’s Electric Vehicle Pilot Schedule 1EV.
Who installs and owns the renewable generation system?
Dominion Energy does not sell or install renewable generation systems. Interested customers should contact a qualified electrical contractor or renewable energy contractor. These contractors can provide the necessary structural engineering analysis, equipment specifications, installation costs, and energy production estimates.
Customers should keep in mind that they are solely responsible for compliance with all applicable zoning requirements, building codes, electrical codes, and any other codes or restrictions applicable to the installation, operation and maintenance of a renewable generation system including, but not limited to, any real property restrictions affecting the use of the property on which the generation system is located. Dominion Energy does not review or approve the suitability of the generation system’s capacity, equipment specifications, installation method, or installation location.
How much electricity can a system produce?
Net Metering is intended to allow a customer to offset a portion or all of the electrical energy requirements of their home or business. The system must be sized so that it does not reasonably produce more energy than the expected annual electrical consumption.
How large can my system be?
Maximum renewable generator sizes (AC capacity):
- Virginia Residential - 20 kW
- Virginia Non-residential - 1000 kW
- North Carolina All Customer Classes - 1000 kW
These system sizes are based on the maximum expected AC output of the system after all losses have been applied including panel orientation, shading, and inverter losses.
How much does Dominion Energy charge to interconnect a generating facility?
Often there are no charges for interconnection of small residential systems. Interconnection charges for larger systems can vary substantially depending on the amount of equipment and construction work necessary to complete the interconnection. Dominion Energy will review the existing service capacity to the premise to determine if existing facilities are adequate to support the proposed generation load, and if additional protective equipment is required.
Are there specific requirements for the generation system?
An interconnected generation system will operate in parallel with the utility system and must have “grid tie” capability. The system and associated inverters must be certified by a national testing laboratory, conforming to UL1741/IEEE 1547 specifications for grid tied systems.
Where is the generating facility interconnected?
The renewable generation system is interconnected at a point on the customer’s side of the Dominion Energy metering equipment. The system may not be interconnected anywhere within the metering equipment cabinet (typically a meter base or current transformer compartment) without prior approval from Dominion Energy.
How do I apply for Net Metering?
Prior to installation:
Step 1: Complete Sections 1 through 4 of the Notification form, and sign the Notification form at the bottom.
Step 2: Submit the Notification form to Dominion Energy either by scanning and e-mailing
Or, by US mail to:
Dominion Energy Virginia
One James River Plaza, 18th Floor
P.O. Box 26666
Richmond, VA 23261-6666
We will send return confirmation that the Notification form was received.
Step 3: We will review the specifications of the proposed generating system and determine if the system is compatible with the electric distribution grid and the existing electric distribution facilities serving the interconnection point.
When the review is completed, we will return a signed copy of the Notification form along with any additional system protection requirements and/or required upgrades to the existing electric distribution facilities serving the interconnection point to enable completion of the interconnection.
After system installation:
Step 4: Complete Section 5 of the Notification form and resubmit to Dominion Energy. Section 5 of the Notification Form requires that a licensed electrician certify that “the system has been installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications as well as all applicable provisions of the National Electrical Code.”
In certain situations, a licensed electrician may not have installed the electrical portion of the system; rather, one of the following two situations may have occurred:
- A homeowner installs the system and applies for an electrical permit and inspection in their name;
- A licensed Virginia Class A or B general contractor with electrical and/or alternative energy certification installs the system and applies for the electrical permit and inspection.
In these situations, where a licensed electrician has not installed the system, a copy of the final electrical inspection which is signed by the electrical inspector is acceptable in lieu of a licensed electrician’s certification. In the case involving the homeowner installation, the homeowner would fill in Section 5 as the installer. In the case of the general contractor installation, the general contractor would complete Section 5 as the installer. In either case, the individual completing Section 5 as the installer must be the same individual listed on the electrical permit.
Step 5: We will complete the required metering work and return a separate written authorization to energize and operate the system. Dominion Energy requires 30 days for residential systems, and 60 days for commercial or governmental systems to complete the metering installation process.
What if I am building a new house or business and electric service has not been established yet?
A net metering interconnection request can still be submitted for the new location as long as a Dominion Energy Work Request number has been established. In this case, the Work Request Number should be used in lieu of the account number on the interconnection request form.
How much do I get for the energy my system produces?
Generally speaking there is no direct cash payment for the energy produced. The energy you produce and consume offsets the energy you would normally purchase from Dominion Energy and can be valued at the amount you would pay for your next kilowatt-hour. The value will vary with individual usage patterns and you should refer to your previous electric bills to determine the appropriate value. Any excess energy returned to the grid is recorded and used to offset future electric energy delivered to the home or business.
How is Net Metering billed?
You will receive a bill that is similar to your normal electric bill. The difference is that the bill will be lower than your bill would have been without Net Metering because all or a portion of your electricity needs will be provided by your renewable energy generation system and not provided or billed by Dominion Energy. If you generate more electricity than is needed for your home or business in a given month, the amount will be used to offset future electricity you would receive from Dominion Energy.
Do I need a Power Purchase agreement?
A Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) is an agreement for Dominion Energy to purchase any net excess energy production which is remaining at the end of each 12 month net metering period.
If you have a smaller renewable generator, and you expect to use most if not all of the renewable energy you generate throughout the year, a Power Purchase Agreement is not necessary. If you have a large generator with consistent excess renewable energy, you may want to consider a Power Purchase Agreement. Refer to Section F of the Terms and Conditions for additional information about a Power Purchase Agreement with Dominion Energy.
I have a Power Purchase Agreement, how much will I be paid for excess energy I return to the grid?
The amount is based on the number of kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy you exported and the PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (PJM) DOMZONE day-ahead annual simple average locational marginal price (LMP) as published by the PJM Market Monitoring Unit for the most recent calendar year. The price changes annually. Here are the historical values.
Where on my bill does it show all the energy my system produced?
Your electric bill does not show all of the energy your system produced. The energy you produce that is consumed by your home does not pass through the Dominion Energy meter.
The net meter measures electricity that is delivered from Dominion Energy to you, and any electricity that is produced by you and returned to the electric grid.
The net meter cannot measure the total amount of electricity produced by your system because your home or business uses the electricity produced by the system first, and that electricity does not go through the meter.
What is the Standby charge?
The standby charge only applies to Net Metering customers served on Virginia Residential Schedule 1 with a generation system size in excess of 10 kW AC.
Residential customers served under Virginia Schedule 1 normally pay for electric system capacity (or electric system demand) through their kilowatt hour rate. This is different from other rate schedules that have a separate demand charge component in the rate.
The standby charge is based on the customer’s generation system size and the customer’s net energy consumption. The standby charge consists of a distribution standby charge, an electricity supply service (transmission) standby charge, and a Rider T1 standby charge. Refer to Virginia Residential Schedule 1 for more details.
Can I sell power instead of Net Metering?
Yes. There are a number of entities that will buy your power output. If you want to sell your power, you can explore the options available to you. The options include, but are not limited to, selling power into the PJM Market and selling it to Dominion Energy. However, selling power requires additional metering and interconnection equipment which is an additional cost you will want to consider.
What if I sell my house?
We will continue to Net Meter and transfer the Net Meter to the next owner. Until advised that the system has been removed, the premise is considered a Net Metering premise.
Can I cancel my Net Metering participation?
You can cancel at any time by calling 866-366-4357. This will require disconnecting the renewable generation and removing the interconnection from Dominion Energy’s system.
I received a letter in September 2017 about changes to net metering regulations. Why?
The State Corporation Commission (SCC) is establishing a proceeding on changes to the Virginia Net Energy Metering Rules. As part of this proceeding, the SCC required Dominion Energy Virginia to send this notification to all current Net Metering customers.
The rule changes will include the definition and procedures for interconnection of Agricultural Small Generators. The changes do not impact current Net Metering participants.