Advice from Solar United Neighbors to help you identify if you are being taken advantage of
Clean Energy States Alliance:
- Solar Consumer Protections (click Consumer Protection in the left bar)
- Case studies of six leading states
Virginia solar page – Information from Virginia Dept of Energy on solar deployment in Virginia
Virginia Office of Attorney General if you need to file a complaint
Federal DOE solar page — homeowners guide to going solar
DOE EERE Solar in your community – A guide for local governments on how to increase deployment of solar PV
Solar United Neighbors examples of Virginia solar PPAs
Description of Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) in Fairfax: Video of John Morrill’s briefing to the Fairfax Board of Supervisors on Offsite Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). John’s presentation begins at approx. minute 25. At minute 45 in response to a question asked by Sup. Lusk, John gives details about the Amazon/Arlington deal that are more extensive than can be found in the press release.
VA State Corporation Commission (SCC) listing of sites that have applied for solar PPAs
A local home that has solar PV, solar hot water, a green roof, a 3000-gal rainwater cistern, and permeable pavers, as an example of what can be done
A 5-minute virtual tour of the above local solar home
Consider visiting local solar homes on the National Solar Tour each October
A local resident who finances solar on homes and business, and is happy to share knowledge on how to do that yourself
Solar for Habitat for Humanity households: GiveSolar
Programs in other states to protect and educate solar customers
Dominion Solar Purchase Program
Something for residents to be aware of who have solar, and are asked by Dominion Energy to sign up to sell their solar directly to Dominion via the Solar Purchase Program: Dominion will pay you $0.12/kWh for your solar. However, they will then send you a 1099 tax form for every dollar they pay you (declaring it as income you are taxed on), they will keep rights to your SRECs, and they will charge you $600 to switch your meter (and another $600 to switch your meter back to net metered if you change your mind). So, depending on what tax bracket you are in, you will pay both federal and state taxes on that income from Dominion, and so only effectively make $0.07/kWh for that electricity. In addition, you lose $0.04/Whr by allowing Dominion to keep your SRECs (also, note that some people prefer not to sell their SRECs so that they can still have the “bragging rights” of truly running on solar energy). So all told, if you remain net metered you make $0.11 + $0.04 = $0.15/kWh for your solar production. If you allow Dominion to buy it from you, rather than remaining net-metered and having it subtracted from your bill, you make $0.07, less than half what you could be making. So, until there is a change in the Dominion program for buying solar directly from generators, the choice seems pretty obvious to remain net-metered.
Farming in concert with large scale solar
An advantage of large scale ground mount solar is that the use of the land can be combined synergisticly with certain kinds of farming, such as sheep grazing or bee-keeping, as well as food crops.
Great example of farming food crops under solar panels.
The American Solar Grazing Association offers a lot of resources.
Power for the People VA has a great article on it.
And the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation has several pages on solar grazing and solar pollinators:
- Advantages of pollinators
- How to find native plants for solar sites
- Comprehensive manual for plant selection on solar sites