Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 45.2. Mines, Minerals, and Energy
Chapter 19. Solar Energy

§ 45.2-1917. Low-to-Moderate Income Solar Loan and Rebate Pilot Program.

A. The Board, with the approval of the Director, shall develop and establish a Low-to-Moderate Income Solar Loan and Rebate Pilot Program and rules for the loan or rebate application process. The Program shall be open to any Virginia resident whose household income is at or below 80 percent of the state median income or regional median income, whichever is greater. The Program shall allow only one loan per residence, irrespective of the ownership of the solar energy system that is installed. Such loan shall be available only for a solar installation or energy efficiency improvements pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 1.2 (§ 36-55.24 et seq.) of Title 36.

B. The Board shall accept an application only from the installer of the solar installation or the agent of the customer.

Each application shall include (i) 12 months of the customer's utility bills prior to installation of the solar energy system and an agreement to provide 12 months of utility bills to the Board following the installation; (ii) the customer's permission for the Director to (a) create a customer profile for the customer if he becomes an eligible loan or rebate customer, (b) aggregate the data provided by such eligible loan or rebate customers, and (c) use such aggregate data for the purpose of lowering energy costs and implementing effective programs; (iii) evidence of the completion of a home performance audit, conducted by a qualified local weatherization service provider, before and after installation of energy efficiency services such as lighting or insulation improvements, attic tents, weatherization, air sealing of openings in the building envelope, sealing of ducts, or thermostat upgrades, to demonstrate that such energy efficiency services were completed and resulted in a reduction in consumption of at least 12 percent; and (iv) an affidavit attesting to the receipt of a public benefit at the time the solar energy system is to be installed.

C. The Board shall review each application submitted to it on a first-come, first-served basis and shall recommend to the Director the approval or denial of each such application within 30 days of receipt. If the Director approves an application, he shall hold a reservation of funds for as long as 180 days for final loan or rebate claim and disbursement.

D. A customer whose application is approved may install an energy system that is interconnected pursuant to the provisions of § 56-594 or any section in Title 56 that addresses net energy metering provisions for electric cooperative service territories.

E. All of the work of installing the energy system shall be completed by a licensed contractor that (i) possesses an Alternative Energy System (AES) Contracting specialty as defined by the Board for Contractors pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 11 (§ 54.1-1100 et seq.) of Title 54.1; (ii) possesses certification for solar installation from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, Solar Energy International, Roof Integrated Solar Energy, or a similar installer certification program; (iii) possesses a rating of "A" or higher from the local Better Business Bureau; and (iv) has installed a minimum of 150 net-metered residential solar systems in the Commonwealth. If the work of installing the solar energy system requires electrical work, such work shall be completed by an electrical contractor licensed by the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation. All photovoltaic panels, inverters, and other electrical apparatus used in the solar energy system shall be tested and certified by a federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory such as UL LLC and installed in compliance with manufacturer specifications and all applicable building and electrical codes.

F. The customer or the installer, acting on behalf of the customer, shall submit any loan or rebate claim within 90 days of completion of the installation of the solar energy system, with completion deemed to have occurred once the solar energy system's bi-directional meter or net meter, or the respective utility's revenue grade meter, has been installed and the system has been electrified. Each rebate claim shall include, at a minimum, a date of system electrification and a time-stamped and date-stamped verification of (i) bi-directional net meter delivery or (ii) the operation of a compatible programmed smart meter capable of tracking net metering activity.

G. The Director shall review and approve or deny a loan or rebate claim within 60 days of receipt and shall provide a written explanation of each denial to the respective claimant. The Director shall disburse from the Fund created pursuant to § 45.2-1916 the loan or rebate for each approved claim within 60 days of its receipt of the claim and according to the order in which its respective application was approved. Any rebate or grant shall be in the amount of no more than $2 per DC watt for up to six kilowatts of solar capacity installed. The customer may use a rebate in addition to any federal tax credits or state incentives or enhancements earned for the same solar installation.

2019, c. 554, § 45.1-399; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.