First Shared Solar Projects Debut in Virginia

A solar energy installation in a field in Virginia near a residential development

(Credit: Dimension Renewable Energy)

by | Nov 27, 2023

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One of the first shared solar projects in Virginia developed, owned, and operated by Dimension Renewable Energy has launched, bringing low-cost clean energy to 1,200 nearby low-income households.

The 5-megawatt project in Waynesboro, Virginia, is one of 12 solar facilities by Dimension under the state’s shared solar program. It will be subscribed by nearly 10,000 low-income households and generate over $20 million in savings for those subscribers, according to Dimension.

Virginia’s shared solar program enables small businesses, renters, and homeowners to subscribe and lower their electric bills. Namely, residents of Community Housing Partners (CHP) properties in Dominion Energy’s service territory will receive reduced-cost clean energy as part of the program. CHP is an affordable housing provider that has partnered with Dimension to offer a solar subscription, dubbed CHP Solar Savings. 

“As a result of years of hard work getting Virginia’s shared solar program off the ground, Virginians will now be able to take control of their electric bill and participate in the clean energy economy without having to buy their own solar panels or own a home,” Bryan Bentrott, vice president of origination at Dimension, said in a statement.

According to CHP, residents can expect at least monthly savings of 10%.

The shared solar program is available to all residents in the service territory of Dominion Energy, though the program is capped at 150 MW. Plus, it is further limited by extra on-bill charges assessed specifically on subscribers by Dominion Energy. Legislative action to expand the shared solar program to residents within the service territory of Appalachian Power stalled last year.

“Shared Solar is launching with the completion of these projects and the thousands of households they will serve, but we need legislative action to bring Shared Solar to more Virginians. We are ready to build on bipartisan support to make Shared Solar broadly available across the Commonwealth,” said Charlie Coggeshall, mid-atlantic regional director of CCSA. “An expanded program can bring billions of dollars in benefits from avoiding utility infrastructure build out that benefits all utility customers. CCSA is looking forward to the next legislative session where we will be quantifying these benefits and supporting new legislation to bring those benefits to fruition.”

The project comes as the solar industry has seen a boom in projects and funding thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, which included several provisions for renewable energy. 

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