By Gary Thomas
In a bid to augment solar power generation, Dominion Virginia Power has proposed the second initiative in its two-pronged strategy for solar generation. The company has sought approval from the Virginia State Corporation Commission to purchase solar power from its customers.
The project is intended to run for a five-year demonstration period during which the company will purchase electricity at a special rate of 15 cents/kWh from customers with solar installations. In turn, these customers would purchase all their electricity from the company. The maximum capacity that would be sourced in the course of the project is 3 MW. With each house hold in the ambit of Dominion Virginia Power’s service area generating up to 4 kW, the company is offering to pay a premium to the customers. This premium will be funded by the company’s Green Power program and will eventually help the customers recover their installation costs.
The Green Power program is an initiative where approximately 14,000 Dominion Virginia Power customers have volunteered to pay slightly higher rates than normal in return for power from certified green sources to meet a portion or the whole of their electricity needs. The new rate program would facilitate Dominion Virginia Power to meet the green energy needs of the Green Power customers by sourcing solar energy from other customers. It is also touted to be an alternative to the Company’s “net metering” program in which approximately 650 customers use electricity generated on their own from renewable resources to offset their consumption of the company supplied electricity.
The new rate program was preceded by another proposal in October 2011 to the SCC for approval to lease rooftops of public and commercial buildings for installation of solar panels up to a maximum capacity of 30 MW.