Residents of the Commonwealth of Virginia are well positioned to reap the benefits of solar energy thanks in part to its great sun exposure and state-sponsored green energy programs. In 2007, Virginia passed its first Voluntary Renewables Portfolio Standard, which is a benchmark for green energy production. The legislature is working to encourage new solar projects in which renewable energy will make up 15% of all electricity by 2025. The initiative includes incremental goals, the next of which is to reach 12% of renewables by 2022.
The benefits of going solar come in many forms; free energy and tax exemptions rank at the top of the list, followed by:
- Reduced electricity bills
- Federal tax incentive
- Solar Renewable Energy Credits
- Low cost financing opportunities
- Net metering
- State, county, and industry-specific grants and rebates
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This program uses Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds to offer subsidized loans for green energy and other conservation projects. The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy sponsors the program for economic growth as well as alternative energy sources.
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Adding a solar energy array will increase the property value by 20% on average. The thought of paying more taxes dissuades many potential solar owners; so many municipalities authorized property tax exemptions as permitted by the Solar Energy Equipment Tax Exemption. Your solar energy installer will know all about the local policies and incentives.
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Also known as performance payments, SRECs are credits awarded to solar energy producers to encourage green energy production. Your utility meter tracks all production, whether or not you use the power, and the property is awarded one credit for every one megawatt-hour (1,000 kilowatt hours) produced. Credits belong to the producer to sell privately or via online marketplaces. Virginia does not have its own market, but producers easily sell to buyers in Pennsylvania.
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REAP grants are Virginia solar power incentives which promote energy efficiency for farmers. Awardees can purchase renewable systems including wind, geothermal, waterpower and solar systems using grants and loan guarantees. The USDA office of Rural Development manages this program.
The sun is intense enough everywhere in the US to make the switch to solar economically viable. Still, you will want to know the expected output for your own system based on its size/location and other variables. Reliable studies show solar is lucrative in Virginia. Specifics about production will be included in the information you receive after your professional solar evaluation.
The programs make going solar more viable than ever because the cost of sourcing the technology has leveled, while incentives are still as high as they were a few years ago. Therefore, now is the time to invest in solar! You begin collecting free energy as soon as your solar array is hooked up, so don’t wait for more evidence to convince you that taking advantage of Virginia solar power incentives is good for business.