Dominion customers who have solar panels have the opportunity to enroll in a net metering program. Customers agree to connect their renewable energy system to the power grid so that they always have a steady supply of energy, even when their system is not producing energy. Dominion will install a meter measuring two-way flow of electricity, so when your system is producing excess energy, that extra electricity will flow back to the grid and you may be credited or paid for the excess that your system produced. When your system is not producing enough energy, electricity will flow from the grid to your system. You are only charged for the “net” power consumed over a designated time period.
Dominion offers net metering in Virginia and North Carolina. While they offer solar power in other states, these are the only two states that allow you to send power back to the grid from your own solar system.
|State||Program available?||Electric rate|
The value of Dominion net metering credits are equivalent to the rates and prices that Dominion customers pay for their electricity.
A special billing meter is installed on the customer’s system in order to measure the two-way flow of electricity. You receive a monthly bill similar to your normal electric bill, but it will be a lower cost and it might even be nothing if you produced more energy than you used. Energy sold to the grid is credited back to the customer in their monthly bill.
|Customer type||System size||Electricity rate schedule (2017)|
|Residential||20 kW or less||June-September: $0.11049/kWh
|Non-residential||Up to 1000 kW||Variable|
Virginia has defined system and aggregate capacity limits for net metering. Residential properties have a net metering cap of 20 kW, and non-residential properties have a cap of 100 kW. The aggregate capacity limit is “1% of utility’s adjusted Virginia peak-load forecast for the previous year.”
|State||Cap (%)||Cap (MW)|
|Virginia (residential)||1||0.02 MW|
|Virginia (non-residential)||1||1 MW|
|North Carolina||None||1 MW|
Dominion is the largest utility provider in the state of Virginia, and Appalachian Power is the second largest. Together, these two companies service most residential users in the state of Virginia. Dominion is much farther along in developing is solar framework, as it already owns a number of solar facilities to generate power. Appalachian is just starting to acquire solar facilities, but does offer a net-metering program to its customers.
If you generate more power than you use, your power will be sold back to the grid at retail price. These credits never expire. This money will be credited to your Dominion account that you can use on future bills. The cost per kilowatt of this energy fluctuates and varies with usage and time. Dominion offers more information about understanding their billing process here.
At the end of 12 months, the customer can continue to use those credits in the next 12 month cycle, or sell the credits back to Dominion. In order to sell the credits, however, the customers will need to consider a Power Purchase Agreement.
Customers can also sell their power, but this requires installation of a second meter and interconnection equipment available at an additional cost. More information on selling your power available here.
Dominion also offers a Solar Purchase Program. In order to be eligible for this particular program, the customer must have two meters installed, and all electricity generated by the solar system is sold back to Dominion for 15 cents per kilowatt-hour. Net metering, on the other hand, is mostly used to offset electrical usage on the property. Although the customer can receive credit for generating excess energy, net metering is predominantly not for profit. Dominion made an easy comparison chart, available as a PDF here.
While Dominion does not offer additional incentives, the state of Virginia offers a few programs worth noting. The state offers financing for installing PV equipment and a performance-based incentive to help with start-up costs
In order to apply for net metering, customers must first fill out this PDF, then by emailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org or sending it in by mail. Dominion decides if the system is compatible with the grid, then returns a signed copy of the form.
Dominion offers installation of interconnection equipment in order to connect your solar system to the grid. The cost of interconnecting varies depending on how much time the installation will take and the amount of work necessary in order to complete the interconnection.
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