The State Corporation Commission (SCC) said Wednesday that it has approved a demonstration project for Dominion Virginia Power that will result in the construction and operation of company-owned solar generation facilities at various commercial, industrial and government locations.
The purpose of the demonstration is to assess the benefits that solar distributed generation would have on the company’s distribution system.
The SCC order caps the cost of the solar distribution generation program that can be charged to customers at $80 million. Dominion Virginia Power was seeking authorization to spend $111 million ― a figure that did not include financing costs.
In its order, the commission said, “We find that the proposed demonstration Solar DG Program – the benefits of which are unknown at this time – at the level of cost proposed by Dominion is not in furtherance of the public interest.” The SCC added, “We conclude that the company can gain reasonable experience and data based on the implementation of the program at the cost level approved….”
Dominion Virginia Power may seek approval to raise the cost cap after gaining experience with solar distribution facilities.
Under the program, Dominion will seek volunteers among commercial businesses and public facilities throughout its service territory that are willing to lease sites for installation of solar panels. The capacity of each such installation will range from 500 kilowatts to 2 megawatts (2,000 kilowatts).
Still under SCC consideration is the company’s proposal to purchase solar-generated electricity directly from residential and small commercial customers who have installed their own solar panels. That demonstration project, as proposed, would be limited to 3 megawatts.