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First shared solar projects in Virginia include two in Augusta County

solar native flowers
After a second growing season, Virginia native flowers surround solar panels at Cople Elementary School in Westmoreland County.

As of today, the first five shared solar projects in Virginia history are operating and providing low-cost clean energy to thousands of low-income customers across the state.

The five projects are part of Dimension Renewable Energy’s $150 million in capital expenditures in Virginia, where nearly 10,000 low-income households will soon benefit from more than $50 million in energy bill savings. Today’s news marks the first time that renters and other Virginians who cannot put solar on their roofs can access affordable solar energy in the state.

“Our clean energy future is now; Dimension is thrilled to be making clean, affordable, solar energy available to the Virginians who need it most,” Bryan Bentrott, VP of Origination, Dimension Renewable Energy, said. “Thanks to recent action from Governor Youngkin and shared solar leaders in the Senate and House of Delegates, today’s news is only the beginning – we look forward to working together to expand shared solar access to more and more Virginians.”

As of today, the following shared solar projects are up and running in Virginia:

  • Prince Edward CSG, 5.1 MW of capacity in Prince Edward County
  • Waynesboro Bridge Solar, 6.7 MW of capacity in Augusta County
  • Augusta CSG, 3.8 MW of capacity in Augusta County
  • Suffolk CSG, 5.2 MW of capacity in Suffolk County
  • White Stone Ocran Solar, 6.6 MW of capacity in Lancaster County

By the end of June, an additional 6.6 MW project in Rockbridge County and a 4.1 MW project in Halifax County will also be operational. The seven projects make up Dimension Renewable Energy’s first phase of their 65 MW total shared solar portfolio in Virginia. The first seven projects will provide clean energy to approximately 6,000 households and Dimension’s total portfolio will power close to 10,000 households and create hundreds of good jobs across the state.

“My colleagues and I have been diligently committed to developing a robust shared solar program in Virginia since 2020,” said Majority Leader Scott Surovell. “We’re thrilled that the legislation has been signed by the Governor just as the first projects are starting to come online. I’m optimistic that the latest legislation will make shared solar a reality for the entire commonwealth. Thank you to all of the stakeholders who worked tirelessly to ensure this legislation is sustainable and in the best interest of Virginians.”

One hundred percent of Dimension’s Virginia project customers qualify as low-income and many of the first subscribers live in affordable housing. Community Housing Partners (CHP), a Virginia affordable housing provider, has partnered with Dimension to offer an exclusive shared solar subscription to their residents. Nearly 1,000 CHP residents have enrolled to-date.

“Virginia is facing a question of how to prioritize renewable energy, lower costs for ratepayers, and balance the use of our valuable land,” said Del. Rip Sullivan. “Thankfully, shared solar offers a solution to all three. Programs like shared solar have a direct positive impact on ratepayers and offer modern solutions to energy distribution. I’m proud to have worked to make shared solar more viable in our Commonwealth, and I’m committed to bringing cost savings to thousands more Virginians.”

Virginia’s Shared Solar Program is part of the Virginia Clean Economy Act that passed in 2020. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin recently signed four bipartisan bills that will expand the shared solar program by 200 MW.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.