Virginia’s Utility Regulator Approves Enough New Solar Projects to Power Nearly 200,000 Homes

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Utility regulator the Virginia State Corporation Commission has approved more than a dozen new solar projects in the state with 764 megawatts (MW) of total electricity capacity — enough power for nearly 200,000 homes during peak output, a press release from Dominion Energy said.

The projects include four solar facilities with 329 MW of capacity that Dominion Energy will own or acquire, as well as an additional 435 MW provided by independently owned solar projects, reported Reuters.

“These projects deliver on our promise of reliable, affordable and increasingly clean energy for our customers,” said Dominion Energy Virginia President Ed Baine in the press release. “Through our investments in offshore wind, battery storage and solar, Virginia continues to make progress on its clean energy transition.”

Once the solar projects are approved, the utility said Dominion Energy will have solar projects with more than 4,600 MW in the state and capacity to power more than 1.1 million homes during peak times, Reuters reported.

The solar projects were originally proposed in October of last year, as Dominion sought to take advantage of the Inflation Reduction Act’s billions of dollars in direct payments and tax credits for renewable energy, reported Reuters.

Dominion’s solar fleet is the second largest in the United States, the press release said. The new projects will create more than 1,600 jobs while generating economic benefits of more than $570 million for the state.

Roughly six million energy customers in 15 states use natural gas or power from Dominion Energy, which has its headquarters in Richmond, Virginia.

Completion of the new solar projects is expected by 2026, with local and state permits required before construction can begin.

The projects are predicted to add roughly $1.54 to the average monthly bill of a residential customer. Right now, Dominion Energy’s rates are 31 percent lower than the average for the Mid-Atlantic and 12 percent lower than the national average.

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), as of the fourth quarter of 2023, Virginia had a total of 4,841 MW of solar installed, with 6.56 percent of the state’s total electricity generation coming from solar. The state ranked 11th in the country for total solar capacity with enough to power 585,088 homes.

Virginia had invested $5.7 billion in solar, and the number of solar companies in the state was 208, providing 4,753 solar jobs. In the past decade, solar prices in Virginia have gone down 47 percent.

“[A]fter a coordinated lobbying effort by clean energy advocates, environmental organizations and many other stakeholders, Virginia passed the Clean Economy Act, which will create up to 29,000 solar jobs while providing enormous market opportunities for both distributed generation and utility scale solar,” SEIA said. “SEIA remains active in industry discussions about how to implement [Virginia Clean Economy Act] and guidance around Virginia’s new zero-carbon generation and energy storage requirements.”

This article originally appeared on EcoWatch and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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This article originally appeared on EcoWatch and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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