Dominion is seeking permission from the State Corporation Commission to launch a new project in which it would install solar panels on the rooftops and grounds of commercial and public facilities.
From Virginia Business:
The company plans to install solar panels at 30 to 50 sites within its service area. At least four of the sites would be located in community buildings.
Participants would be paid for the leasing the space. A monitor would display information about the installation’s output.
Dominion would own and operate the solar panels as generation facilities after the site had been operating for five years.
The installations would provide power for about 6,000 homes.
Meanwhile, Dominion is also seeking permission to charge customers with large scale residential solar power systems a monthly standby fee of approximately $60.
Dominion said the charge is needed to cover costs of servicing those customers when their panels are not working.
From the Associated Press:
Dominion defended the standby rate Tuesday and said it reflects the cost of serving residences that rely on solar power and the utility’s power generation.
“That standby charge is just a charge for our wires and equipment that must be there when their self-generation isn’t working,” said Dianne Corsello, manager of customer solutions and new technology at Dominion. “It wouldn’t be fair for our other customers to bear those costs.”
But advocates of solar energy, including the Sierra Club and the Solar Industries Association, say the rate increase will discourage residential solar installations and its implementation is the result of poor analysis.
The AP continues:
Francis Hodsoll, executive director of the Solar Industries Association’s regional chapter, and other advocates of renewable energy said the standby rate erodes the value of solar systems. Owners typically seek a return on their initial investment in lower electric costs.
“When you add these charges to the solar panels on your roof, we find that the economics go negative,” Hodsoll said. “You can no longer get any positive return.”