RD269 - Annual Report on Solar Energy Distributed Generation Programs

Executive Summary:
Chapter 111 of the 2011 Virginia Acts of Assembly ("Chapter 771") directs the State Corporation Commission ("Commission") to consider for approval petitions filed by a utility to construct and operate distributed solar generation facilities and to offer special tariffs to facilitate customer-owned distributed solar generation. Pursuant to Chapter 771, the Commission has received and approved two such applications, both filed by Virginia Electric and Power Company d/b/a Dominion Virginia Power ("DVP"). These are:

(i) An application to construct and operate distributed solar generation facilities (called the Solar Partnership Program); and

(ii) An application for approval of tariffs designed to facilitate customer-owned distributed solar generation as an alternative to net metering (called the Solar Purchase Program).

The Solar Partnership Program has two participants, Old Dominion University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Canon Environmental Services in Gloucester, Virginia. Four additional projects are under construction and another twelve sites are in active development. DVP projects that the initial cap on program expenditures will be reached by the end of 2015, and potential projects for 2016 are subject to additional funding.

In addition to site development, the Solar Partnership Program also includes an educational program that eventually will enable local personnel to provide secondary and post-secondary instruction on solar powered systems. DVP also is using this program to gather information that should enable DVP to refine its electrical distribution planning model and to forecast future solar generation impacts on certain areas of DVP's circuitry and distribution system.

The Solar Purchase Program began June 20, 2013. Under this program, customers install and own solar distributed generation systems and sell that power back to DVP along with associated renewable energy certificates ("RECs"). DVP reached the non-residential limit for this program within the first 25 days, and residential interest also was high. However, DVP has experienced a slower adoption and installation period than originally anticipated. As of June 30, 2014, 52 projects had been completed, with another 35 projects under construction. DVP is considering additional measures to spread program awareness to fulfill remaining available capacity in this program.