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Net Metering

Eligibility 
Commercial
Institutional
Local Government
Nonprofit
Residential
Schools
State Government
Savings Category 
Photovoltaics
Program Info
State 
Virginia
Program Type 
Net Metering
Provider 
Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy

'''''Note: In March 2011, Virginia enacted HB 1983, which increased the residential net-metering limit to 20 kW. However, residential facilities with a capacity of greater than 10 kW must pay a monthly standby charge. The Virginia State Corporation Commission approved standby charges for transmissions and distribution components as proposed by Virginia Electric and Power Company (Dominion Virginia Power) on November 3, 2011.'''''

Virginia's net-metering law applies to residential generating systems up to 20 kilowatts (kW) in capacity and non-residential systems up to 500 kW in capacity (utilities may choose to offer net metering to larger non-residential systems). Net metering is available on a first-come, first-served basis until the rated generating capacity owned and operated by customer-generators reaches 1% of an electric distribution company's adjusted Virginia peak-load forecast for the previous year. Net metering is available to customers of investor-owned utilities (including competitive suppliers) and electric cooperatives, but not to customers of municipal utilities.

Net-metered energy is measured by a meter capable of gauging electricity flow in both directions. Monthly net excess generation (NEG) is carried forward to the next month. At the end of each 12-month period, the customer has the option of carrying forward eligible excess NEG to the next net metering 12-month period or selling the NEG to the utility. The amount of credit to be carried forward to a subsequent net metering period may not exceed the amount of energy purchased during the previous annual period.* In the case of selling the NEG to the utility, the customer must submit a written request to establish a power purchase agreement with the utility prior to the beginning of the net metering period to be covered by the power purchase agreement. The investor-owned utility must pay avoided cost (or higher if agreed upon). Net metering is also available to customers on time-of-use tariffs (with time-of-use applicable NEG calculations).

Customer-generators own all of the renewable energy credits (RECs) their system generates. Virginia's net metering law states that at the time a customer enters into a power purchase agreement with the utility for net excess generation, the customer has a one-time option to sell RECs to the utility. This provision does not preclude the customer and utility (or other entity) from voluntarily entering into an agreement for the sale and purchase of RECs at any other time.

Any residential net-metering customer of Dominion Virginia Power who owns and operates, or contracts to own and operate, an electric generation system with a capacity greater than 10kW and less than 20kW is required to pay transmission and distribution standby charges effective April 1, 2012. Customers will be required to pay $2.79 a kW in monthly distribution standby charges and $1.40 kW in monthly transmission standby charges. The SCC denied Dominion's proposal for generation standby charges, but Dominion may reapply for approval for these charges in the future.

'''History'''

In April 2009, the Governor signed legislation (HB 2155) making changes to net metering in Virginia. System size caps for net metering were not changed, but HB 2155 allows utilities to approve a higher capacity limit at their discretion. The bill also permits customers that are served on time-of-use tariffs to participate in net metering. Finally, the bill establishes ownership of renewable energy certificates as described above. The SCC regulations take effect late April 2010. Utilities must file standard tariffs to comply with the new regulations.

In 2013, HB 1695 created net metering programs for agricultural customers of investor-owned utilities and electric cooperatives. Program must begin prior to July 1, 2014, for customers of investor-owned utilities and no later than July 1, 2015, for customers of electric cooperatives, to afford eligible agricultural customer-generators the opportunity to participate in net energy metering.

''* For example, if a customer-generator bought 1,500 kilowatt-hours (kWh) from a utility during the first 11 months of the annual period, and then generated 2,000 kWh of excess electricity in the 12th month, the customer could carry forward 1,500 kWh to the following month, and the remaining 500 kWh would be granted to the utility.''