Moving to solar power may be a smart move for Virginia residents. According to the National Resources Defense Council, the state’s air is the 12th dirtiest in the nation and much of that pollution comes from power plants. In response, solar is on the rise, meeting the economic and environmental needs of the state. In addition, rebates and tax exemptions are making the switch to solar energy more economical for Virginia residents. Scroll down to learn more about these incentive programs and browse a list of solar-panel installers.

Virginia’s Solar
Report Card

Grade
Methodology

To determine a grade for each state, our researchers and solar experts analyzed data on crucial solar-advancement criteria from the following sources:

We determined a rank from 1 to 10 for each state in each category. We then combined the scores with the following weights and assigned an overall grade for each state. Our goal is to encourage those considering solar for their homes to get a basic understanding of solar potential in their areas and discover the best opportunities for clean energy available.

Incentives & Rebates, 40%

Electricity Rate, 15%

Renewable Energy Policy, 30%

Interconnection Ease, 5%

Photovoltaic Potential, 10%

Average Electricity Costs in Virginia

High utility costs generally drive up the use of solar power. However, in Virginia, residential electricity is about $.12/kWh, which is near the national average. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the price has been relatively steady since 2011, indicating that there hasn’t been a huge shift in the supply or demand. In general, the state’s energy consumption comes primarily from natural gas, nuclear electric power and coal.

Cost of Residential Electricity

Data from U.S. Energy Information Administration
*as of Q3 2015

Virginia
Library of Solar Resources

Incentives & Policies for Solar Panels in Virginia

Several rebates, grants and other incentives exist for residents looking to go solar. These solar-friendly offerings make it more financially lucrative to make the switch from traditional power sources to solar power. Incentives fall under local, state and federal umbrellas and can often be combined for added benefits, however state incentives are minimal. The Tennessee Valley Authority offers a solar rebate for those that fall within its boundaries, impacting only those in four of the state’s counties. Find out what you qualify for in the links below.

REBATES AND INCENTIVES

Voluntary Solar Resource Development Fund

The Voluntary Solar Resource Development Fund is used to provide loans for residential, commercial, or nonprofit solar energy projects.

Dominion Virginia Power – Solar Purchase Program

Dominion’s incentive program is for customers that install solar PV systems at 15 cents per kWh with a five year contract. Both residential and nonresidential customers are eligible.

None

TVA Mid-sized Renewable Standard Offer Program

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) provides incentives for mid-sized renewable energy generators between 50kW and 20MW to enter into long term price contracts. The total production goal from all participants is 100MW, with no more than 50MW from any one renewable technology.

Clean Energy Manufacturing Grant Program

Virginia clean energy manufacturers can receive a grant for up to six years if it makes a capital investment of more than $50 million in Virginia, creates 200 or more new full-time jobs and enters a memorandum of understanding setting forth the requirements for capital investment and the creation of new full-time jobs.

Small Business and Nonprofit Loan Program

The Virginia Small Business Financing Authority provides financing for solar projects to small businesses and nonprofits.

TVA Solar Solutions Initiative

The Solar Solutions Initiative (SSI) offers additional financial incentives for solar systems participating in the Renewable Standard Offer program offering a performance-based incentive of .04 cents per kWh for the first 10 years. This incentive is additional to the seasonal and time-of-day price for electricity offered through the Renewable Standard Offer program.

VirginiaSAVES Green Community Loan Program

This program provides low cost financing to private commercial and industrial, non-profits, and local governments funding a variety of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in the state.

POLICIES

Net Metering

Virginia net-metering is available on a first-come, first-served basis to customers who generate electricity from renewable energy sources up to 20kW capacity for residential customers and 1,000kW for non-residential customers.

Interconnection Standards

There are two interconnection standards in the state of Virginia: one for net-metered and one for non net-metered. Full details can be found within.

Solar Easements

The Virginia Solar Easements Act of 1978 allows property owners to create binding solar easements to protect and maintain proper access to sunlight.

Solar Rights

Virginian community associations generally may not prohibit a homeowner from installing or using a solar energy collection device on their property. However, it may establish reasonable restrictions concerning size, place, manner of placement of individual solar devices or restrict the installation of solar devices on common areas within the development.

None for commercial specifically

TAX CREDITS

TAX EXEMPTIONS

Local Option – Renewable Energy Machinery and Tools Property Tax Exemption

Local governing bodies of any county, city, or town in Virginia can impose a different property tax on renewable energy generating machinery and tools compared to other normal use machinery. The rate of the property tax cannot exceed the rate of the general class of machinery and tools.

Local Option – Residential Property Tax Exemption for Solar

Virginia provides the option for any county, city or town to exempt or partially exempt solar energy equipment and recycling equipment from local property taxes. This status is targeted toward residential participants.

Commercial Solar Property Tax Exemption

All certified commercial solar facilities under 20 megawatts (MW) are exempt from state and local taxes. The exemption does not include the land.

Virginia Solar Installers & Contractors

AltEnergy Solar Solutions

With 11 years of experience, AltEnergy builds solar energy systems and provides a wide range of alternative energy services.

Where it operatesCharlottesville, VA

Baseline Solar

Baseline Solar brings alternative energy solutions to its customers in southwest Virginia.

Where it operatesBlacksburg, VA

Year of opening2009

Blue Ridge Sun

This company designs and installs solar and other alternative energy systems, including grid-tie and grid-tie with battery back-up solar systems.

Where it operatesMax Meadows, VA

Year of opening2008

Main Street Solar

Main Street Solar is a solar engineering and installation firm.

Where it operatesFincastle, VA

Year of opening2008

Old Dominion Innovations

Serving the greater Richmond area and installing in the entire Commonwealth, Old Dominion Innovations works on projects of all sizes.

Where it operatesRichmond, VA

Primal Energy Systems

Primal Energy is a full-service company that works in central Virginia and the DC/Baltimore area. It consults, designs and installs solar panel systems.

Where it operatesRichmond, VA

Prosolar Systems

ProSolar provides solar systems to residential properties with pitched roofs, flat roofs and on ground-mounts.

Where it operatesSt. Thomas, VA

Shockoe Solar

Shockoe works with a variety of business partners in and around Virginia and is a part of utility-scale solar projects in addition to residential and business planning and installation.

Where it operatesAshland, VA

Sigora Solar

Sigora Solar serves its customers one at a time and through community-based solar cooperatives.

Where it operatesWaynesboro, VA

Year of opening2011

Solar Connexion

Solar Connexion works with a variety of renewable energy systems across the mid-Atlantic area.

Where it operatesBlacksburg, VA

Year of opening1993

Solar Services

Solar Services serves southeast Virginia and northeast North Carolina to install and maintain solar systems. It has offices in Tennessee, Florida and several sister locations.

Where it operatesVirginia Beach, VA

Year of opening1986

SolShine Energy Alternatives

SolShine specializes in small-scale projects for homes and businesses.

Where it operatesCheck, VA

Year of opening2010

Virginia Solar Energy Resources

MDV Solar Energy Industries Association

Serving, Maryland, D.C. and Virginia, the MDV-SEIA was founded in 1984 to support businesses in the solar industry. It offers policy advocacy, networking, education and other benefits to its members.

National Resources Defense Council

Learn more from this environmental action group about renewable energy in Virginia as well as a host of other issues for both activists, environmental leaders and those looking to do more to go green.

Solar Energy Industries Association – Virginia

Find facts about going solar in Virginia, including the cost of traditional electricity, information about policies and the state of solar in Virginia today.

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality

Explore public information about public notices, emerging environmental issues, programs and laws and regulations.

Virginia Energy Sense

Virginia Energy Sense is an energy education program under the umbrella of the State Corporation Commission. It aims to teach residents of the Commonwealth how to save energy and energy costs to reduce electric consumption below 2006 levels.

Virginia Solar Energy Association

The VSEA was established in 1983 to help empower citizens of Virginia about solar technology.