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New Virginia law legalizes third-party rooftop solar leasing

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The Virginia General Assembly has officially passed House Bill 1062/Senate Bill 271, which will allow rooftop solar leasing with a third-party in Virginia and strengthen energy choice for customers.

The law becomes effective on July 1, 2024.

More than 50,000 Virginia homes have solar energy installed, and the market is expected to grow by nearly 10 times in the next decade as customers look to take control of energy and lower electricity bills. Expanded solar financing options like third-party leasing help reduce upfront costs and make the decision to install solar more attainable for people of all incomes.

“SEIA commends Gov. Youngkin and leaders in the General Assembly for supporting a strong, bipartisan solution to give Virginians the freedom to choose the energy that works for them,” said Caitlin Vincent, Southeast senior manager for the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “As thousands of Virginia families consider their energy choices and install solar over the next decade, the solar and storage industry is taking steps to ensure every installation is safe, reliable and meets customer expectations. SEIA will continue to advocate for policies that open the market for solar, put customers first and strengthen Virginia’s energy economy.”

SEIA is leading the transformation to a clean energy economy, creating the framework for solar to achieve 30 percent of U.S. electricity generation by 2030. SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies and other strategic partners to fight for policies that create jobs in every community and shape fair market rules that promote competition and the growth of reliable, low-cost solar power. Founded in 1974, SEIA is the national trade association for the solar and solar + storage industries, building a comprehensive vision for the Solar+ Decade through research, education and advocacy.  

“Rooftop solar is a key component of Virginia’s commitment to clean energy because it strikes a balance between lowering costs, meeting our energy goals, strengthening our grid, and protecting our unique landscape,” legislation co-sponsor Sen. Suhas Subramanyam, who represents Virginia’s District 32, said. “As our energy demand increases, we’ll need to think of novel ways to generate supply, and programs like solar leasing and net metering help incentivize deployment where it’s needed most. I’m grateful that after two sessions we could finally get this bill passed and lay the groundwork for better integrating rooftop solar and battery storage into our grid.”

Del. Rodney T. Willett also co-sponsored the bill.

“This bill will help the Commonwealth look forward in our clean energy transition, attract more businesses to Virginia, and allow more people to utilize solar energy in a more affordable and accessible way,” Willett said.

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.