I am a solar project designer and manager in the Virginia solar industry, specifically Richmond. As an employee in the industry I'm able to earn a decent living and support myself while being involved in one of the most exciting and growing sectors of our energy economy. I strive to provide customers of all stripes, political motivations, and callings with clean self-generated energy and help people reach their green-energy goals.
Our industry is not only experiencing advances in technology resulting in higher efficiency components and lower prices for traditional PV systems, but also is expanding outward with new building-integrated PV products and innovations that increase the ways solar can be utilized in our world.
While we realistically cannot expect to replace our entire energy grid with solar and other renewables, it is important to have a diversity of sources, particularly those that are locally generated resources that encourage energy independence and community self-sufficiency (as we see in the budding concept of solar "micro-grids"). It is my hope that once we have a breakthrough in energy storage and continued R&D in photovoltaics (so far so good), solar PV will explode in practicality and implementation.
The growth of our industry depends on fair market access and a level-playing field for customer-owned ‘rooftop’ solar. Virginia's Energy plan should expand job-creating incentives like net metering while eliminating arbitrary barriers that stifle job creation and hurt Virginia solar contractors.
Incentives like net metering are crucial to the growth of solar PV companies and the industry at large. On the other hand, arbitrary limits to net metering, standby charges and system size limitations reduce the size and scope of the work that my company is able to do.
I respectfully urge you to expand rooftop solar in Virginia to create well-paying jobs, build clean, local energy into our communities and give consumers energy choice and freedom.