Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 56. Public Service Companies
Chapter 23. Virginia Electric Utility Regulation Act
11/28/2021

§ 56-585.1:12. Multi-family shared solar program.

A. As used in this section:

"Applicable bill credit rate" means the dollar-per-kilowatt-hour rate as defined in subsection D used to calculate a subscriber's bill credit. The applicable bill credit rate shall be set such that the shared solar program results in robust project development and shared solar program access for all customer classes.

"Bill credit" means the monetary value of the electricity, in kilowatt-hours, generated by the shared solar facility allocated to a subscriber to offset that subscriber's electricity bill.

"Investor-owned utility" means each investor-owned utility in the Commonwealth including, notwithstanding subsection G of § 56-580, any investor-owned utility whose service territory assigned to it by the Commission is located entirely within the Counties of Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott and Wise. "Investor-owned utility" does not include a Phase I Utility, as that term is defined in subdivision A 1 of § 56-585.1.

"Multi-family shared solar program" or program" means the program created through the adoption of rules to allow for the development of shared solar facilities described in subsection C.

"Shared solar facility" means a facility that:

1. Generates electricity by means of a solar photovoltaic device with a nameplate capacity rating that does not exceed 3,000 kW alternating current at any single location or that does not exceed 5,000 kW alternating current at contiguous locations owned by the same entity or affiliated entities;

2. Is operated pursuant to a program whereby at least three subscribers receive a bill credit for the electricity generated from the facility in proportion to the size of their subscription;

3. Is located in the service territory of an investor-owned utility;

4. Is connected to the electric distribution grid serving the Commonwealth; and

5. Is located on a parcel of land on the premises of the multi-family utility customer or adjacent thereto.

"Subscriber" means a multi-family customer of an investor-owned electric utility that owns one or more subscriptions of a shared solar facility that is interconnected with the utility.

"Subscriber organization" means any for-profit or nonprofit entity that owns or operates one or more shared solar facilities. A "subscriber organization" shall not be considered a utility solely as a result of its ownership or operation of a shared solar facility.

"Subscription" means a contract or other agreement between a subscriber and the owner of a shared solar facility. A subscription shall be sized such that the estimated bill credits do not exceed the subscriber's average annual bill for the customer account to which the subscription is attributed.

B. The Commission shall establish by regulation a program that affords eligible multi-family customers of investor-owned utilities the opportunity to participate in shared solar projects. The regulations shall be adopted by the Commission by January 1, 2021.

C. An investor-owned utility shall provide a bill credit to a subscriber's subsequent monthly electric bill for the proportional output of a shared solar facility attributable to that subscriber. The shared solar program shall be administered as follows:

1. The value of the bill credit for the subscriber shall be calculated by multiplying the subscriber's portion of the kilowatt-hour electricity production from the shared solar facility by the applicable bill credit rate for the subscriber. Any amount of the bill credit that exceeds the subscriber's monthly bill shall be carried over and applied to the next month's bill in perpetuity;

2. The utility shall provide bill credits to a shared solar facility's subscribers for not less than 25 years from the date the shared solar facility becomes commercially operational;

3. The subscriber organization shall, on a monthly basis and in a standardized electronic format, provide to the investor-owned utility a subscriber list indicating the kilowatt-hours of generation attributable to each of the retail customers participating in a shared solar facility in accordance with the subscriber's portion of the output of the shared solar facility;

4. Lists may be updated monthly to reflect canceling subscribers and to add new subscribers. The investor-owned utility shall apply bill credits to subscriber bills within one billing cycle following the cycle during which the energy was generated by the shared solar facility;

5. The investor-owned utility shall, on a monthly basis and in a standardized electronic format, provide to the subscriber organization a report indicating the total value of bill credits generated by the shared solar facility in the prior month as well as the amount of the bill credit applied to each subscriber;

6. A subscriber organization may accumulate bill credits in the event that all of the electricity generated by a shared solar facility is not allocated to subscribers in a given month. On an annual basis, the subscriber organization shall furnish to the utility allocation instructions for distributing excess bill credits to subscribers; and

7. All environmental attributes associated with a shared solar facility, including renewable energy certificates, shall be considered property of the subscriber organization. At the subscriber organization's discretion, those attributes may be distributed to subscribers, sold to investor-owned utilities or other buyers, accumulated, or retired.

D. The Commission shall annually calculate the applicable bill credit rate as the effective retail rate of the customer's rate class, which shall be inclusive of all supply charges, delivery charges, demand charges, fixed charges, and any applicable riders or other charges to the customer. This rate shall be expressed in dollars or cents per kilowatt-hour.

E. The Commission shall establish by regulation a multi-family shared solar program by January 1, 2021, and shall require each investor-owned utility to file any tariffs, agreements, or forms necessary for implementation of the program. Any rule or utility implementation filings approved by the Commission shall:

1. Reasonably allow for the creation and financing of shared solar facilities;

2. Allow all customer classes to participate in the program, and ensure participation opportunities for all customer classes;

3. Not remove a customer from its otherwise applicable customer class in order to participate in a shared solar facility;

4. Reasonably allow for the transferability and portability of subscriptions, including allowing a subscriber to retain a subscription in a shared solar facility if the subscriber moves within the same utility territory;

5. Establish uniform standards, fees, and processes for the interconnection of shared solar facilities that allow the utility to recover reasonable interconnection costs for each shared solar facility;

6. Adopt standardized consumer disclosure forms;

7. Allow the investor-owned utilities to recover reasonable costs of administering the program;

8. Ensure nondiscriminatory and efficient requirements and utility procedures for interconnecting projects;

9. Address the colocation of two or more shared solar facilities on a single parcel of land, and provide guidelines for determining when two or more facilities are colocated; and

10. Include a program implementation schedule.

F. Within 180 days of finalization of the Commission's adoption of regulations for the shared solar program, utilities shall begin crediting subscriber accounts of each shared solar facility interconnected in its service territory.

2020, cc. 1187, 1188, 1189, 1239, § 56-585.1:11.

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.