Sunny Virginia has the potential to be a great solar state with a little help from the state legislature. Although state lawmakers haven't done much to promote solar, keep in mind that the Federal Government currently offers a 30% tax credit for the whole installed cost of your system That's a huge benefit available to you no matter where you live in the US!
Virginia has no RPS (Renewable Portfolio Standards). This is a regulation that requires utilities to increase their production of energy from renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal by a certain date. Utilities must meet the standards by either producing their own renewable energy or by purchasing it from customers. They must pay high fees if the standards are not met. Rather than paying high fees, utilities in strong RPS state offer solar incentives to homeowners.
Solar carve outs require a certain percentage of the Renewable Portfolio Standards to be met with solar energy. Virginia has no solar carve out.
Virginia's electric rates rank 25th out of fifty states. A state's electric rates are one of the key factors in predicting whether an investment in solar panels makes sense. The reason for this is simple: solar power is in direct contention with electric rates. Low electric rates make it hard for you to achieve significant payback from your solar power investment. Higher electric rates make an investment in solar energy much more feasible. Virginia's lower electric rates make investing in solar power less attractive.
Virginia offers net metering to residential Solar PV systems up to 20 kW in capacity. Net metering is a system in which solar panels or other renewable energy generators are connected to a public-utility power grid and surplus power is transferred into the grid, allowing customers to offset the cost of power drawn from the utility. When you generate electricity from your solar array for your home or business, it reduces the amount of energy you purchase from your electric utility. it also lowers your monthly electricity bills. If your system produces more energy than you need, the excess power is sold back to the grid. That amount of energy is deducted from your monthly bill or credited toward a future bill.
Interconnection standards are requirements for connecting solar and other electrical generation systems to the grid. These rules apply to both electricity customers and utilities. Virginia has strong statewide interconnection standards which makes the interconnection process in Virginia less complex and less expensive. This can be a definite benefit when trying to bring a solar energy system online and makes it easier for a solar power system to make financial sense.
Solar power rebates are incentives federal or state governments offer to reduce the cost of going solar. You can get a lump sum payment or your installer will take the amount off the final installed price. Rebates require paperwork to be filed. Many times installers will handle the paperwork. There are no statewide solar rebates in Virginia, however Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) customers are eligible for a $1,000 payment after their system is installed.
Virginia does not offer state solar tax credits. As a credit, you take the amount directly off your tax payment, rather than as a deduction from your taxable income. You can claim the credit for your primary residence, vacation home, and for either an existing structure or new construction.
Virginia offers Solar Power Performance Payments, also know as production incentives (the state ranks 15th in the nation). Solar Power Performance Payments provide small cash payments based on the number of kilowatt-hours (kWh) or BTUs generated by a renewable energy system. Payments based on a system's actual performance are much more effective than payments based on a system's rated capacity. Electricity produced is credited as Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs). SRECs are a great way to help your Solar PV system pay for itself.
Virginia offers property tax exemptions for installed solar systems. Property tax exemptions allow businesses and homeowners to exclude the added value of a system from the valuation of their property for taxation purposes. An exemption makes it more economically feasible for taxpayer to install a solar system on a residential or commercial property. Since Virginia state property tax exemptions are authorized by the state legislature but not required, check with an installer to see if your town offers such exemptions.
Virginia doesn't offer sales tax exemptions. A sales tax exemption means that homeowners and businesses would not have to pay any state sales tax on their solar panel system.
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