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2024 UPDATE on Virginia SRECs (getting paid for solar)

If you live in Virginia, you should know that our state is not necessarily fast moving policy wise, and we tend to sway back and forth between political parties. Here at Virginia Renewables, we like to keep it politics free, because solar is for everyone, no matter your political views. That being said, there's one party that supports it in our state, and one party that does not. That's all we pay attention too!

Virginia is a part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI for short. This agreement is a pact between 10 other eastern states to reduce our collective carbon footprint and incentivize clean energy production. This agreement is what creates the SREC (Solar Renewable Energy Credit) market in each state, and is then passed into laws with clear renewable energy goals.

The SREC markets work by setting a renewable energy portfolio target, and a year to reach that target. Based on this, the state sets a cap for the SREC value. If you need a review on how SRECs work, see here.

In 2021, Virginia joined RGGI by passing the Clean Economy Act. This law set the goal that all utilities in the state must produce 100% renewable energy by 2050. This is achieved by fining utilities for every 1000kWhs SOLD to consumers. Instead of paying this fine, they can purchase SRECs from homeowners or businesses that are producing solar for a lower price. This both incentivizes consumers and businesses to switch to solar, and the large utilities to source renewable energy in order to avoid the fine.

Now, you can see why utility companies DON'T like solar, even if they tell you they do on their website. Cough Cough  Dominion Energy... When in reality they are pushing the narrative that solar passes their added costs onto the consumer, when this is the utilities cost for pursuing the sale of fossil fuels, not ours.

Solar simply costs the utilities money, and takes away a paying customer that would otherwise be paying them for life. But solar actually gives the consumer a CHOICE, to own their own electricity. That is why protecting Virginia's participation in RGGI, and keeping the SREC market alive and well, is extremely important. We all deserve to choose how we get our electricity, and should not be forced to pay the large utility monopolies without an alternative.

Here are a couple points on the argument that solar passes the costs onto homeowners that don't have solar:

  1. Solar and other renewables, with ALWAYS be the most efficient way to produce electricity. Power plants and solar farms will lose 30-50% of their production by the time it reaches the customer. There are NO losses when you own your own power plant on your roof. The excess generated electricity is sent to your neighbors, or the closest customer who needs electricity, truly maximizing the efficiency of electric distribution by creating thousands of localized power plants.

  2. Creating localized power plants, like rooftop solar, or even small solar farms, takes a HUGE load of the grid. Which is actually the #1 contributing factor to increasing electric costs. Our electric grid requires A LOT of maintenance, and simply can't handle the urban sprawl happening in Northern Virginia. Solar reduces this burden greatly, therefore REDUCES costs put onto consumers without solar.

The Current Status of Virginia's SREC Market

Governor Youngkin is attempting to pull Virginia out of RGGI, and the state is currently being sued for doing so. The circuit court of Floyd County confirmed that the Association of Energy Conservation Professionals has standing to challenge the state’s decision to leave the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative yesterday (01/05/2024).

The way the Clean Economy Act was written, an executive order is not sufficient to pull the state out of it's agreement with the 10 other states, and needs to be passed through the general assembly. Which as of the recent election, is controlled by a pro solar group of politicians. Meaning, the status of Virginia's RGGI participation is looking bright, and we'll hopefully see a jump back up to the $60-$70/SREC pricing that we saw in early 2022 at some point this year.

Current prices are in the $40-$50/SREC range, with the option to register in Pennsylvania's Tier 1 market at a fixed $45/SREC as backup. See more info on PA's Tier 1 market here

Because of these recent events, solar prices have plummeted in Virginia. Meaning if you switch to solar now at these low prices, you'll benefit the greatest in the long run once SRECs are back up to what they were previously. So get in when it's hot before the prices all go back up!

You can schedule a call with one of our solar professionals to discuss or ask more questions about your eligibility for solar here. We'll create a custom design and review all the information and pricing with you for free, with absolutely no pressure. We like to keep it laid back and information forward!

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