Net metering in Virginia

What is net metering?

Net metering is the policy that allows people with solar to get a credit on their electric bill for the energy they produce from their system.

Net metering in Virginia

System capacity limit Residential: 20 kW
Non-residential : 1,000 kW
Agricultural: 500 kW (aggregated capacity)
Monthly excess generation credit rate Full retail
Annual excess generation credit rateAvoided cost
State-wide net metering capOne percent of utility’s peak-load from previous year
Applicable utilitiesInvestor-owned utilities, electric cooperatives
Policies expanding net metering Aggregate net metering for farmers
Additional barriers Standby charges for residential systems greater than 10 kW
Virginia code §56-594 establishes the rules for net metering in the Commonwealth. The state’s investor-owned utilities (Dominion and Appalachian power) and electric cooperatives are obligated to follow the rules set out in §56-594 while participation is optional for smaller municipal utilities.

Billing and compensation

Virginia’s residential customers are compensated at a one-to-one retail rate for the solar energy they output to the electric grid if their system size is less than 20 kW. Commercial or other non-residential customers are compensated at one-to-one retail rate with a system size limit of 1,000 kW. In Virginia, systems are sized to not exceed a customer’s annual consumption. However, if a customer generates too much solar over the course of a 12-month period, the customer can roll over the credit or receive a payment at the avoided cost rate.

Standby charges

Residential systems greater than 10 kW in Investor Owned Utility territory (Dominion and Appalachian Power) are subject to pay standby charges. The amount of the charges will depend on your utility and the amount energy required to meet peak demand used on site. Additionally, Dominion Energy customers with systems greater than 10 kW and less than 20 kW are subject to additional transmission and distribution standby charges.

Other types of net metering in Virginia

  • Aggregate net metering: Virginia farmers can participate in aggregate net metering in which excess solar production from one meter or building is credited to another.
  • Virtual net metering: Virtual net metering for either community solar or tenant aggregation is not allowed in Virginia. While Dominion has a program that is called community solar, the program does not allow individuals to own or develop their own shared solar facilities. Learn more about community solar.

Take action

Sign the Virginia Declaration of Solar Rights

Virginia utilities shouldn’t be able to limit our ability to go solar. Yet they have actively lobbied to impose arbitrary and technically unsound limits on net metering limiting customer options. Sign the Virginia Declaration of Solar Rights and help expand net metering in the state.

Get help from fellow solar owners

If you’re having trouble with net metering or getting your system interconnected, post to the Virginia listserv to get help.

 

File a complaint

Our utilities exist to serve their customers. If you’re having a problem that isn’t being resolved quickly by your utility, file a complaint at the State Corporation Commission.

 

Virginia resources

Net metering and your utility

Additional policy resources for Virginia

  • Power for the People VA blog – This is an excellent resource summarizing all solar and renewable energy policy developments in Virginia.
  • Virginia Distributed Solar Alliance – This is a diverse group of individuals and representatives from grassroots organizations, industry, financial, and legal institutions throughout the Commonwealth, that share a common vision in which all Virginia communities can benefit from the energy choice, job creation and grid resilience inherent in solar distributed generation.

Our recent work on net metering in Virginia

We have produced thousands of signatures on a state-wide Declaration of Solar Rights that demands the Virginia general assembly remove interconnection standby charges, arbitrary caps on solar generation and other policies that prevent all Virginians from accessing and being fairly compensated for solar energy.

 

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