Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Energy
Department of Energy
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8/23/18  11:45 am
Commenter: Darren Wyatt

Distributed Solar - Community Solar - Net Metering - Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SREC's)

I develop and close structured finance deals for commercial solar projects in Washington, D.C. 

We really have to hit HARD on the economic benefits of solar particularly. Developing large commercial projects in Washington, DC, I know firsthand that a robust Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) with an aggressive solar carve-out inside that RPS is what the Commonwealth needs. There no reason to believe that Virginia cannot run parallel to DC's very progressive approach to renewable energy. We have to put the mindset that Dominion can't be touched in the rear-view mirror. Yes, they have political pull. Yes, they have boatloads of dollars to lobby. But can you guess what Dominion doesn't have? Our hunger. It was the DC legislators and the DC voters that beat PEPCO/Exelon. It was the legislators and the voters that brought a solar economy to Massachusetts. Illinois, New Jersey, California, Minnesota - all states with very favorable solar policies. 

Solar is not just for the kale-chips eating crowd anymore (nothing against kale chips).  Solar is big business. Solar could coat the roofs of warehouses, elementary schools, and everything in between from Richmond to Mclean and down to Abingdon. The only solar rebate in the state is through the Tennessee Valley Authority that provides a $1,000 rebate to homeowners that go solar along the Tenn/VA state line. That is all. Below I'll give you an example of the possibilities that can occur in Virginia.

Company A works out of a 35,000 square foot warehouse in DC. Company A wants to benefit from going solar but their roof is 30 years old and falling apart. Company A reached out to Company B, a solar developer. Company B put together a solar report that sized Company A's solar system at 490 kilowatts (kW). Company B can now provide Company A with $500,000 for a new roof replacement AND provide them a fixed rate of $0.09 cents per kilowatt hour (Power Purchase Agreement - PPA) for life of the agreement. Company A is currently paying an astronomical utility bill. Company A receives a $500,000, 30-year warranty roof, with a $0.09 cent PPA that will save them close to $1.5 million over 20 years. The SREC market in DC is so outstanding that Company A will receive a value of $1.9 million for the price of $0.00. State-of-the-art solar panels on top of a brand new roof with no penetrations (flat roofs under a certain amount of stories allow the solar system to be ballasted). 

This is a real scenario and this is what can happen in Virginia given a robust solar market.  We need Lavar Stoney on-board, we need Justin Fairfax on-board, and we need to educate the voters in Virginia on the dollars they're missing out on. Once Virginia opens its doors to solar, there will be a legitimate green-rush. Colleges will be offering solar classes and degrees, elementary schools will educate our children about the benefits of green, mom and pop businesses will have extra revenue coming in every year...the list goes on and on and on.  I was born and raised in Virginia and I love my state. It's time our state breaks free from living in the stone-ages. It starts and ends with us.  I can be thrown to the wolves in any capacity. Just let me know. 

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