How to Go Solar in Richmond
You might be wondering if solar panels in Richmond are worth it. The governing body of the Commonwealth seems to think so, and they’ve passed legislation to incentivize clean energies like solar across the state.
The 2020 Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA) created a first-of-its-kind Clean Energy Standard for the entire state that presents abundant opportunities for renewable energy. Richmond and your solar powered home located there are no exceptions.
The VCEA makes it easier for homeowners and businesses in Richmond to save money by switching to solar, take control of their energy and lead the way toward an advanced energy economy. The days of outages, rising electricity costs and the dependency on pollution-heavy fossil fuels are nearing an end.
So rest assured, there are programs available in Richmond to install solar panels on your house and save money on your purchase.
- Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) — Electric companies in Richmond can avoid paying fines by purchasing “SRECs” from solar owners. It means that homeowners who have gone solar can make money from the utility company and shorten the amount of time to pay off the cost of their solar installation.
- Net Metering — Net metering is another benefit of a home solar system in Richmond. When your panels produce excess power, net metering means you can sell it back to the utility company grid in exchange for credits toward any future utility bills.
- Solar Investment Tax Credit — If you put solar panels on your house in Richmond, the U.S. government has tax credits in place to help. The credit is as high as 26% through 2022. In 2023 it will decrease to 22% and might disappear in 2024, so it’s the best time to switch to solar in Richmond.
- Solar Rights and Easements — These laws let you remove shade cover or other interference that limits your solar production. It also generally prevents home owner associations (HOA) from blocking or stopping a reasonable installation of solar panels on your property.
We’ll discuss those solar power programs and incentives as well as helpful tips for going solar in Richmond in more detail below.
Richmond Solar Power Incentives
Much like the rest of Virginia, Richmond has taken great strides to bring solar energy to more homes and businesses. Maybe most significant of all is the fact that there is a state-sponsored incentive for solar for nearly any situation a homeowner faces.
At Sunpro, we want to help you take advantage of the best solar power incentives in Richmond. Here are a few of those solar incentives explained:
Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs)
Wouldn’t you like to shorten the amount of time it takes to pay for your solar panels? Well, that’s where “Solar Renewable Energy Credits” (SRECs) come in.
In Richmond, solar owners can benefit by using their panels to create valuable energy for the utility companies. As a means to avoid paying fines, utilities purchase SRECs from solar owners.
The credits are based on how much energy your system produces, and are frequently used to shorten the time it takes to pay off the solar installation costs. Selling SRECs is a valuable option for solar homeowners in Richmond. For rooftop solar power, the VCEA set specific targets that utilities are required to meet.
Low-income households in Richmond are also qualified to participate in this solar benefit. VCEA laws also require utilities to purchase credits from low-income families with solar power.
Larger Solar Systems
A large part of the Virginia Clean Economy Act is the permitting of larger solar systems. That’s right. The bill increases the total size of a solar system that can be built and installed in Richmond.
The limit for residential systems is now at 25 kW as opposed to the previous limit of 20 kW. For commercial properties, the VCEA raised the limit 1 MW to 3 MW. The goal is that by raising the cap, more homeowners and businesses will be encouraged to go solar.
The VCEA also removes many fees associated with installing larger solar systems. Prior to the act’s passage, utility companies could add fines to solar owners whose systems were greater than 10 kW. No more.
The limit for fees was raised to 15 kW in Dominion territories. In Appalachian Power territories, the fees were removed altogether!
TVA Performance-based Solar Incentive
A solar benefit that’s unique to Virginia and, more specifically, Richmond is the performance-based incentive program from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and participating power distributors of TVA power.
Homeowners who install solar power as a renewable generation system affects the pricing of energy for customers who qualify. Which means even more savings, straight from the dominating power providers.
Solar Rights in Richmond
A state law made effective in 2008 protects solar rights in Richmond and the entire state of Virginia. The law makes it so that neighborhood and community associations can’t keep a homeowner from installing or using solar energy on their property. Pretty terrific, right?
There is one condition, however. A community or neighborhood association can establish some restrictions regarding the size of the solar system and placement of the panels anywhere other than the roof. And of course, restrict solar installations in common or shared areas of the community.
Richmond Solar Easement Law
Like solar easement laws in other states, Virginia’s law makes it so that property owners in cities and communities like Richmond can create solar easement agreements to protect and maintain panel access to sunlight.
Passed in 1978, the law states the following:
Easements must be executed in writing and must include:
- The vertical and horizontal angles, expressed in degrees, at which the solar easement extends over the real property subject to the solar easement
- Any terms or conditions or both under which the solar easement is granted or will be terminated
- Any provisions for compensation of the owner of the property subject
How Does the 2020 Virginia Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) affect Solar Energy in Richmond?
The passage of Virginia’s Clean Economy Act in 2020 by Gov. Ralph Northam makes for an even more promising future for solar energy and other renewables in Richmond.
Utilities in the state will be required to switch to 100% clean energy by 2050 and add 16 GW of solar and onshore wind, 3 GW of energy storage and close all coal power plants in Virginia by 2024.
As the state demonstrates an even greater commitment to solar energy, don’t be surprised to see less dependency on the electric company and more incentives for your solar panel system to light up in Richmond and beyond.
Solar Builder Magazine summarized the four key parts of the bill and identified the main pillars that guide it:
- Prioritize investment in the least-cost clean energy resource – energy efficiency – which helps reduce waste and save Richmond residents money. The bill establishes a mandatory energy efficiency resource standard (EERS) with clear targets.
- Harness the power of cost-competitive clean energy resources, like wind, solar, and energy storage, to power Virginia’s electricity grid, through binding clean energy targets.
- Steadily reduce reliance on fossil-fired generation, with targets to drive emissions from coal, oil, and natural gas plants to zero by 2045.
- Unlock rooftop solar and let more Richmond residents take part in Virginia’s clean energy economy by rolling-back unnecessary regulations and increasing the cap on solar power purchase agreements from 50 megawatts (MW) to 1,000 MW.
But wait, there are even more incentives for solar power in Richmond. Keep reading.
Net Metering in Richmond
In a role reversal of sorts, net metering is when homeowners sell their excess, unused energy produced by their solar panels to the utility company in exchange for credits to be applied to other utility bills.
Net metering in Richmond is available on a first-come, first-served basis. What’s more, the recent VCEA bill ensures solar owners receive fair compensation for their solar and ensures that new solar energy customers will be able to participate in net metering.
Wherein the previous laws placed a participation cap at 1% of the electricity on the grid, the VCEA lifts the cap to 6%. Even better, 1% of this amount is reserved for low-income customers.
Right now, the amount of electricity on the grid produced from solar panels is a great deal under 1% in most of Virginia. But as more residents in Richmond go solar, you can expect that percentage to increase dramatically.
Solar Federal Tax Credit Available in Richmond
If you’re going solar in Richmond, you won’t want to miss out on your chance to claim a substantial national tax credit that is applied to your solar installation.
The federal government of the United States is offering a 26% tax credit of the entire cost of your solar system (including a battery) that you can deduct from your federal taxes.
Available to homeowners in Richmond, The Federal Solar Tax Credit is a generous national incentive, but it won’t be at 26% for long.
Time is running out to take advantage of the 26% tax credit! The tax credit will drop to 22% in 2023 and, by 2024, the federal tax credit for homeowners with solar power will be gone altogether.
Before 2020 comes to an end, claim the best federal solar tax credits available to homeowners in Richmond who switch to solar.
Save Money and Install Solar Panels to Your Home in Richmond
Now you’ve seen how installing solar panels on your home can save you money, as well as provide an investment for freedom from your utility company, what are you waiting for?
Now is never better to reduce or eliminate your electric bill, as well as increase your home value, and reduce your environmental footprint.Start Saving Today
How Do I Choose A Solar Contractor in Richmond?
Choosing a solar contractor for your area can be intimidating, which is why it’s helpful to remember the three most important tips when choosing a solar panel company:
Make sure the company you’re choosing has warranties in place. Not only on the labor, but products as well. That way you know you and your investment are protected in the years to come.
Read reviews about the company you’re choosing. While you’ll see a bad review here and there (just the nature of open reviews), make sure a large majority of the reviews aren’t negative and stating the same problems over and over. That’s a clear indicator of a company to stay clear of, no matter how well known their name is.
Choose a reputable company that’s been in the game for awhile. Again, this way you are sure to protect your investment with a company that will continue to be there for you in the years to come.
Sunpro Solar, Trusted Solar Company in Richmond
Since 2008, Sunpro Solar has a proven history and reputation for providing quality service, and was ranked #5 for 2020 Solar Power World’s Magazine Top Residential Solar Installer in the United States. We are proud to offer some of the best warranties you can find in the solar industry and only use products that offer the same.
- 25 Year Labor Warranty
- 25 Year Production Guarantee
- 25 Year Solar Panel Manufacturer Warranty
- 25 Year Enphase Microinverter Warranty
- Thousands of happy homeowners
- Free Home Energy Audit
- Roof replacement if needed
Solar Panel Quote for Richmond Residents
If you’re ready to take the next step, or even if you’re considering what it would take to get you there, contact us to discover all your options.
We install solar and roofs in Richmond and surrounding areas. Contact us today to see if we service your area and get free solar quotes for your particular needs.
See What Our Customers Are Saying
Google Review – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I cannot say enough good about Sunpro! They were thorough and efficient throughout our solar system purchase and installation. I could match the numbers for product and performance during the bid. They were awesome on planning and coordinating the permits and project. The install was timely, complete and clean. The best part is the system has performed better than expected and looks sharp!