Renewable Energy Technology Incentives in Virginia
Virginia has a number of incentives in place to promote renewable technology in the state and has a modest target of reaching 15% of its power from green sources by 2025. 40% of its electricity generation currently comes from nuclear power and by the end of 2014 just 6.5% was from renewables, the majority of which was delivered by biomass.
Virginia has a growing solar industry in place but it currently only has 21 MW of capacity installed with one of the largest commercial projects delivered by IKEA. There are 180 solar companies in the state employing 2,000 workers and state legislation has been changed to allow access to net metering for all solar customers.
The state has been boosting its onshore wind power production in recent years and investment is taking place to explore the possibility of exploiting the potential for off shore development in the future. Plans for a wind farm off Virginia Beach could produce 3,000 MW, enough to power some 800,000 homes. According to state research, if Virginia invested more in their wind and solar infrastructure they could easily meet their voluntary RPS of 15% by 2025, if not exceed it.
By far the biggest contributor to renewable energy in the state is through biomass for which Vermont has plenty of resources. Some of this has been done by converting existing coal power stations including the one in Altavista and the 50 MW plant in Halifax.
Solar PV Incentives in Virginia
As with many of the south eastern states, solar is growing but only slowly. The state has a number of incentives in place, including net metering, to help promote further investment. There is the Federal Tax Rebate of 30% to take advantage of as well as incentives from the Tennessee Valley Authority including their Solar Solutions Initiative which provides $0.04 per kWh produced for the first ten years of any installation. Installers can also take advantage of property tax exemptions and various low cost loan facilities.
Solar PV Case Study in Virginia
Virginia is a cash purchase state and there is no opportunity yet to lease your solar panels. Having said that, the return on investment is pretty good and comes first of all with the 30% Federal Tax Rebate. The average cost of a 5 kW installation is $18,750 and you should realistically expect to pay off any loan within 14 years, giving you a profit over the 25-year lifetime of the array of over $16,000. That doesn’t include the increase in sale value of your home of around $15,000.
Solar Thermal Incentives in Virginia
Solar thermal is a good option if you want a low cost heating system that pays for itself pretty quickly. With low water heating costs and incentives such as the Commercial Solar Property Tax Exemption and low cost loans from the VirginiaSAVES Green Community Loan Program, which has a fund of $20 million, there is plenty to take advantage of.
Small Hydro Incentives in Virginia
The state has plenty of resources available to develop small hydro particularly for off grid communities and agricultural land. Incentives come in the form of the Federal Tax Rebate and there are a number of benefits from the TVA. Installers can also benefit from the state’s Clean Energy Manufacturing Incentive Grant Program which is available for a host of renewable technologies.
Geothermal Incentives in Virginia
As in many other states, geothermal is making good progress and the installation of technologies such as ground source heat pumps is seen as a smart move for the right properties. Incentives come from the utility companies who provide rebates such as the Dominion Virginia Power Non-Residential Energy Efficiency Program.
Biomass Incentives in Virginia
Biomass power plants currently provide a large proportion of the state’s renewable energy needs despite recent concerns over its green credentials. There is room for expansion both at a residential and commercial level as well as the development of agricultural projects for anaerobic digestion. Incentives come from the Federal Tax Rebate as well as other tax exemptions and low cost loans and grants such as the state’s Energy Project and Equipment Financing program.
Wind Power Incentives in Virginia
The potential for large scale wind power in the state is good and there are investigations underway to utilize offshore possibilities that could provide power to 800,000 homes. On a smaller scale, wind turbines present a good chance of a return on investment for remote areas that are either off grid or who have agricultural land that can be utilized. Installers can benefit from the Federal Tax Rebate and property tax exemptions as well as the Commonwealth's Energy Leasing Program for larger projects.
Compared to some other states in the south east of the US, Virginia has plenty of incentives in place to help promote the advance of renewable technologies as well as a reasonable RPS in place. Expect to see increases in wind and solar power in the next decade or so as the state tries to wean itself off fossil fuels.
You can find out more about the renewable technology incentives available in the state of Virginia on the DSIRE web portal.