Corporate

Solar Purchase Program FAQs

About the Program

What is the Solar Purchase Program?

The Solar Purchase Program is a pilot program designed to help eligible Virginia customers cover the cost of adding solar generation to their property.

Participants in this program will install and own the solar generation system but sell the electricity and solar Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) back to Dominion at a premium rate of 15 cents per kilowatt-hour. Participating customers will continue to purchase all of the electricity for their home or business from the company on their current rate schedule.

Why is Dominion offering this program?

There is a growing interest in renewable energy and the cost of solar systems has declined over the years providing more customers with the financial means to install these systems on their homes and businesses. Additionally, Dominion wants to provide customers with options while growing solar generation in the Commonwealth.

How does the program work?

Participating customers will install and own the solar generation system, but sell the electricity and solar Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) back to Dominion at a premium rate of 15 cents per kilowatt-hour. Participating customers will purchase all of the electricity for their home or business from the company on their current rate schedule.  The solar Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) purchased in conjunction with this program will be retired by Dominion through the Dominion Green Power® program.

What is the Dominion Green Power® program?

Dominion Green Power is a voluntary program offered by Dominion that provides an easy and affordable way to support the development and production of renewable energy in Virginia and our surrounding region. Through the program, Dominion purchases Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) on behalf of the customer in the amount they specify. Participants can match 100 percent of their electricity use or they can buy 154 kilowatt-hour blocks of renewable energy for $2 each. The charges for these purchases are added to the participating customer’s bill.

When did the program become available?

We began accepting applications for the Solar Purchase Program on June 20, 2013, with customers signing up online and enrolling on a first-come, first-served basis.

How long will the program be available?

The pilot program will run for an initial five-year period. Upon expiration of the initial term, and if the Solar Purchase Program is still available, the agreement between the customer and Dominion will be considered renewed for a renewal term of one year continuing annually until either party gives written notice of termination. Energy purchased during the renewal term will also be purchased at 15 cents.

If the program is not renewed, customers will be notified and given the option to move to another program (net metering or other future options) or go back to their regular residential or commercial rate.

Can I leave the program before the five-year contract period expires?

Participants in the Solar Purchase Program can terminate their agreement with Dominion at any time by providing thirty days advance written notice to the email address, Solar.Purchase@dom.com. The notice should contain the Participant’s name, address, phone number, Dominion account number, reason for termination, and the date in which they would like the termination to become effective.

Please note that once early termination has been granted, customers will not be eligible to apply for the Solar Purchase Program again until the expiration of the five-year demonstration period.

What is the difference between the Solar Purchase Program and Net Metering?

The Solar Purchase program is a buy-all, sell-all program. Participants will have a second Dominion meter installed that will measure the electricity generated by the solar system. All of the electricity generated by the solar system will be sold to Dominion at 15 cents per kilowatt-hour. The purchase amount will first be applied as a credit to the customer’s bill.  If there is a credit that exceeds the bill amount by more than $1 for any billing period, the customer may request that the credit be sent in the form of a check.

With Net Metering, a participating customer has only one meter and the solar generation is used predominately to offset electrical usage of the residence or business it is installed on. If more electricity is generated than is needed by that customer, the meter captures the amount of excess energy returned to the grid, and a “credit” is recorded to offset future energy delivered from the grid to the customer. Additionally, the participating customer owns all renewable energy attributes associated with the energy generated.

If I participate in the Solar Purchase Program, can I still claim the environmental benefits (or renewable energy attributes) associated with renewable energy generation?

No. By participating in the Solar Purchase Program, you are selling both the energy generated and the renewable energy attributes to Dominion. Since all rights associated with the energy are sold to the company, you cannot claim the environmental benefits, or make the claim that you are using the renewable energy generated by your solar system. The purchased renewable energy attributes, in the form of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) will be retired by Dominion through the Dominion Green Power® program in accordance with Green-e Energy program requirements.  

If a customer participating in the Solar Purchase Program also participates in the Dominion Green Power program, they can claim the energy purchased through the Green Power program as renewable.

Participation & Eligibility

How do I participate?

Interested customers should fill out the online application. You must provide all information requested to be considered for participation.

What information do I need for the online application?

We will need basic contact information, your Dominion account number and details about your solar project. View the application form.

Who can participate?

Residential and non-residential (commercial, jurisdictional) customers meeting the eligibility requirements may be able to participate, provided the program has not met the maximum megawatts of interconnected solar generation. 

Residential Requirements:
- Customer must have a current Dominion Virginia Power account at the location where the generation system is to be installed.
- Must be presently served under Schedules 1, 1P, or 1S.
- System must be 20kW AC capacity or less.

Non-Residential Requirements:
- Must be a commercial and/or jurisdictional customer.  County and Municipal entities (non-jurisdictional) are not eligible to participate at this time.
- Customer must have a current Dominion Virginia Power account at the location where the generation system is to be installed.
- Must be presently served under Schedules GS-1, GS-2, GS-2T, 5C, or 5P.
- System must be 50kW AC capacity or less.

Is there a fee to apply?

There is no fee to apply for the program; however a $100 non-refundable processing fee is required with the interconnection notification to be accepted into the program if space is available.

Does the solar generation system need to be installed before I apply?

No. You have up to six months to complete the system installation once you are accepted into the program. 

Is there a limit to how much electricity my system can produce to qualify for the Solar Purchase Program?

Yes. The system size (measured in system kW capacity AC) cannot exceed 20 kW for residential systems, or 50 kW for non-residential systems.

Additionally, the inverter output should match the service characteristics (voltage and phasing) provided to the premise. Solar generation systems with an output that exceeds the existing service capacity (Amps) can result in additional charges for interconnection.

Are there additional installation costs to participate in the program?

Yes. A second meter must be installed at your home or business in order for us to measure the electricity generated by your solar system. Your system will have to be configured for the second meter, and you may have additional costs for wiring alterations required to enable the second meter to be installed.

The alterations will need to be performed by your electrical contractor or solar installation firm before Dominion can install the second meter. Once you have been accepted into the program a Dominion representative will be assigned to assist your electrical contractor or solar installation firm with the wiring requirements necessary to interconnect your system.

Is a “stand by” charge applicable to participants in the Solar Purchase Program?

No. The “stand by” charge does not apply to this program since all of the electricity required for use at the business or residence is purchased under the Solar Purchase Program rate.

Is there a monthly charge for the second meter?

Yes.  For single phase service capacity at 200 amps or less, the monthly charge will be $2.80.  For single phase 320 amp capacity, the charge will be $4.40 per month.  For single phase and three phase services requiring CT (Current Transformer) rated metering equipment, the monthly charge will be $7.80.  These charges will be reflected on the participant’s monthly bill.

Am I automatically accepted into the program once I submit my application?

No. Program participation is limited and will be administered on a first-come first-serve basis for qualifying installations. Applicants will be notified as space is available, and will be considered accepted into the program once Dominion has received a fully executed interconnection notification form, service agreement and W-9.

How will I know if and when I am accepted?

If there is available space in the program, we will send you an application package which includes a Virginia Level 1 Interconnection Request Form, a Dominion Solar Purchase Program Service Agreement, and an IRS W9 form.

Once you complete and return these forms along with the non-refundable $100 processing fee, a work request number will be assigned for your installation, and a Dominion representative will be assigned to assist you with completing the work required to interconnect your system.

Why is there a waiting list? What does it mean if I’m on the waiting list?

As a pilot, the program is limited to a total of 3 megawatts of generation.  Of that amount, approximately 60 percent will be dedicated to residential customers and 40 percent will be available for non-residential customers.

Once we reach that amount via online applications, a waiting list will be established for future participation should any of the previously accepted projects fall through and/or exceed the six month allotment for system installation completion.

We will notify you of your status if you are placed on the waiting list.

How will Dominion pay me for the energy I produce?

Dominion will purchase all energy you produce at 15 cents per kilowatt-hour.  Each month, the value of your generated energy will be applied to your account as a credit.

At the end of any month, if your account has credits in excess of $1, you may request that a check be issued to you for the credited amount.

How many people will be able to participate in the Solar Purchase Program?

As a pilot, the program is limited to a total of 3 megawatts (or 3,000 kilowatts) of generation. Of that amount, approximately 60 percent will be dedicated to residential customers and 40 percent will be available for non-residential customers. A typical residential solar installation in Virginia has a 4.24 kW AC capacity. A maximum of 475 customers could potentially participate in the program.

How can I tell if there is space left in the program for me to participate?

The approximate available kW capacity left will be posted on our Solar Purchase Program website.

Can I Net Meter and also be in the Solar Purchase Program?

No. To participate in the Solar Purchase Program, customers must sell all of their generated electricity and Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to Dominion.

Net Metering customers may switch to the Solar Purchase Program provided their solar RECs have not been committed to another party, and their solar generation system size is within the program limits

I already have solar panels on my property. Can I participate?

Yes. Existing customers with solar installations may switch to the Solar Purchase Program provided their solar RECs have not been committed to another party, and their solar generation system size is within the program limits.

Can County or Municipal entities participate in the Solar Purchase Program?

No. Only Virginia jurisdictional, residential, and commercial customers may participate at this time.

Is a similar program available for North Carolina customers?

A similar program is not currently available to our North Carolina customers.

How much does a typical solar installation cost?

We are unable to provide an accurate estimate for potential participants because there are too many variables (solar panel manufacturer and model, roof type, racking, square footage, etc.) that can impact the cost. We suggest contacting a qualified solar contractor for a quote.

Who should install my solar system?

Dominion Virginia Power does not recommend specific solar system types or installers but we do suggest using a solar installer who is certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). Learn more about NABCEP and find certified professionals in Virginia.

Are there any special instructions I should share with my electrician in regard to my installation?

Yes.  Please share the Solar Purchase Electrical Guide with your electrician and solar installer.  If there are questions, contact us at solar.purchase@dom.com.

Additional Information

Are there any solar-related federal or state tax incentives available that I can take advantage of?

To find out more about tax incentives you may be able to take advantage of, please visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy & Efficiency to learn more.  

Will Dominion be reporting payments for generation to the IRS?

Dominion will issue 1099’s to report payments made for generation as required by law.

Generally speaking, the gross amount of compensation credited to a participant’s account for solar output generated is includable as gross income for federal and state income tax purposes, regardless of funds actually received. Dominion will report such income to the program participant and to federal and state tax authorities as required by applicable law.

Are there other tax consequences I should be aware of?

Dominion does not, and cannot provide tax advice to customers on the tax-related implications for your solar generation. Customers interested in participating in the Solar Purchase Program should consult their own tax advisors with respect to the specific federal, state, local or other tax consequences.

Will the company report the program’s progress?

Yes. Dominion will track the program’s key metrics and report annual updates to the Virginia State Corporation Commission with a final comprehensive report submitted within 90 days of the conclusion of the Solar Purchase Program.

What is Dominion doing to support renewable energy?

Dominion is committed to doing its part to reach the Commonwealth of Virginia's goal of 15% electricity from renewable sources by 2025. The company is expanding its renewable generation portfolio to help achieve this goal.

Are there different ways I can support renewable energy through Dominion?

Yes. One of the easiest ways is to join the Dominion Green Power® program. Over 20,000 Virginia customers are currently participating in this voluntary program that allows customers to support wind, solar and biomass production and development easily and affordably on their monthly bill.
Learn about our other programs and initiatives.

What is Green-e Energy certification?

Green-e Energy is the nation's leading voluntary certification program for renewable energy. Green-e Energy is a program of the Center for Resource Solutions, a national nonprofit organization working to mitigate climate change by building policies and consumer-protection mechanisms in renewable energy, greenhouse gas reductions and energy efficiency.

For over a decade, Green-e Energy has been certifying renewable energy that meets the environmental and consumer protection standards, highlighted in the Green-e National Standard, that was developed in conjunction with leading environmental, energy and policy organizations such as the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The Dominion Green Power® program and the renewable energy certificates (RECs) purchased for the program are Green-e Energy certified. These certifications mean that:

  • Dominion purchases and retires enough RECs to meet participating customer demand;
  • The RECs purchased for this program come from renewable energy facilities that meet Green-e standards;
  • Green-e standards require that the RECs purchased through Dominion Green Power are from “New” renewable facilities that have come online no earlier than 1998 and that they are only used once, then retired;
  • The customer education and program marketing materials provided by this program are accurate and disclose relevant program details, terms, and conditions.

You can learn more about Green-e certification at www.green-e.org.

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