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SCC re-opens renewable energy pilot program registration with July 1 expansion

SCCThe State Corporation Commission is re-opening acceptance of notices of intent by non-utility owners of solar or wind-powered generation who are interested in selling electricity to utility customers under a power purchase agreement.

The pilot program has been closed to registrations since January when the previous state law limit on such arrangements was reached.

Under a purchase power agreement, a non-utility developer installs solar panels on a customers’ property and then sells the electricity generated by them back to that customer at a price that is usually less than electricity provided by the utility company.

The 2020 Virginia General Assembly adopted legislation to expand the existing pilot program that was established in 2013. Because of high interest in the program, the SCC is authorizing pre-registration to begin for a portion of the new statutory limit. However, the notices of intent that can be submitted beginning May 14, 2020, will not become effective until July 1, the effective date of the new law.

For eligible renewable generation located in the Dominion Energy Virginia service territory, the statutory cap has increased from 50 megawatts to 500 megawatts for jurisdictional customers (residential and business) and 500 megawatts for non-jurisdictional customers (local, state and federal government). The SCC is limiting pre-July 1 registration to a maximum of 125 megawatts for jurisdictional customers and 125 megawatts for non-jurisdictional customers.

When the pilot program in Dominion’s territory had become fully subscribed, the Commission had received notices of intent for 49.99 megawatts of potential generation, comprising 9 owner-operators and 162 customer-generators. All of it is solar generation.

The previous statutory cap had not been reached in the Appalachian Power service territory. The new law, however, increases the cap from 7 megawatts to 40 megawatts. For the Appalachian Power pilot, the SCC is limiting pre-July 1 registration to a maximum of 10 megawatts.

In no instance may a single individual or entity pre-register more than 3 megawatts in either service territory.

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