Code of Virginia

Creating a Report: Check the sections you'd like to appear in the report, then use the "Create Report" button at the bottom of the page to generate your report. Once the report is generated you'll then have the option to download it as a pdf, print or email the report.

Code of Virginia
Title 45.2. Mines, Minerals, and Energy
Subtitle V. Other Sources of Energy; Energy Policy
Chapter 19. Solar Energy
5/22/2024

Chapter 19. Solar Energy.

Article 1. Virginia Solar Energy Center.

§ 45.2-1900. Virginia Solar Energy Center; purposes.

A. The Virginia Solar Energy Center (the Center) is established as part of the Department. The purposes of the Center are to (i) serve the people of the Commonwealth as a clearinghouse to gather, maintain, and disseminate general and technical information on solar energy and its utilization; (ii) coordinate programs for solar energy data-gathering in the Commonwealth; (iii) coordinate efforts and programs on solar energy with other state agencies and institutions, other states, and federal agencies; (iv) promote cooperation among and between Virginia business, industry, and agriculture and the public related to the use of solar energy; (v) develop public education programs on solar energy for use in schools and by the public; and (vi) provide assistance in formulating policies on the utilization of solar energy that would be in the best interest of the Commonwealth.

B. The Center may receive nonstate funds for the purposes provided in this section.

1984, c. 590, § 45.1-391; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

Article 2. Virginia Solar Energy Development and Energy Storage Authority.

§ 45.2-1901. (Expires July 1, 2025) Definitions.

As used in this article, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Authority" means the Virginia Solar Energy Development and Energy Storage Authority established pursuant to this article.

"Developer" means any private developer of a solar energy project or an energy storage project.

"Energy storage project" means an energy storage facility located within the Commonwealth and includes interests in land, improvements, and ancillary facilities.

"Solar energy project" means an electric generation facility located within the Commonwealth and includes interests in land, improvements, and ancillary facilities.

2015, cc. 90, 398, § 67-1500; 2017, c. 813; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1902. (Expires July 1, 2025) Virginia Solar Energy Development and Energy Storage Authority established; purpose.

The Virginia Solar Energy Development Authority is continued as the Virginia Solar Energy Development and Energy Storage Authority. The Authority constitutes a political subdivision of the Commonwealth. The Authority is established for the purposes of (i) facilitating, coordinating, and supporting the development, either by the Authority or by other qualified entities, of the solar energy and energy storage industries and solar energy and energy storage projects by developing programs that increase the availability of financing for solar energy projects and energy storage projects; (ii) facilitating the increase of solar energy generation systems and energy storage projects on public and private sector facilities in the Commonwealth; (iii) promoting the growth of the Commonwealth's solar and energy storage industries; (iv) providing a hub for collaboration between entities, both public and private, to partner on solar energy projects and energy storage projects; and (v) positioning the Commonwealth as a leader in research, development, commercialization, manufacturing, and deployment of energy storage technology. The Authority may also consult with research institutions, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and stakeholders as the Authority deems appropriate. The Authority has only those powers enumerated in this article.

2015, cc. 90, 398, § 67-1501; 2017, c. 813; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1903. (Expires July 1, 2025) Membership; terms; vacancies; expenses.

A. The Authority shall have a total membership of 15 nonlegislative citizen members appointed as follows: eight members to be appointed by the Governor; four members to be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Delegates; and three members to be appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules. All members of the Authority shall be citizens of the Commonwealth. Members may include representatives of solar businesses, solar customers, renewable energy financiers, state and local government solar customers, institutions of higher education who have expertise in energy technology, and solar research academics.

B. Except as otherwise provided in this article, all appointments shall be for terms of four years each. No member shall be eligible to serve more than two successive four-year terms. After expiration of an initial term of three years or less, two additional four-year terms may be served by such member if appointed thereto. Appointments to fill vacancies, other than by expiration of a term, shall be made for the unexpired terms. Any appointment to fill a vacancy shall be made in the same manner as the original appointment. The remainder of any term to which a member is appointed to fill a vacancy shall not constitute a term in determining the member's eligibility for reappointment.

C. The Authority shall appoint from its membership a chairman and a vice-chairman, each of whom shall serve in such capacity at the pleasure of the Authority. The chairman, or in his absence the vice-chairman, shall preside at each meeting of the Authority. The meetings of the Authority shall be held on the call of the chairman or whenever a majority of the members so request. A majority of members of the Authority serving at any one time shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.

D. Members shall serve without compensation. However, all members may be reimbursed for all reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties as provided in §§ 2.2-2813 and 2.2-2825. Such expenses shall be paid from funds appropriated to the Authority by the General Assembly.

E. Members of the Authority shall be subject to the standards of conduct set forth in the State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act (§ 2.2-3100 et seq.) and may be removed from office for misfeasance, malfeasance, nonfeasance, neglect of duty, or misconduct in the manner set forth therein.

F. Except as otherwise provided in this article, members of the Authority shall be subject to the provisions of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.).

2015, cc. 90, 398, § 67-1502; 2017, c. 813; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1904. (Expires July 1, 2025) Partnerships.

A. The Authority may establish public-private partnerships with entities pursuant to the Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act of 2002 (§ 56-575.1 et seq.) to increase the number of solar energy generation systems on or located adjacent to public and private facilities in the Commonwealth. Any partnership established pursuant to this section shall stipulate that the Authority and the developers shall share the costs of the installation and operation of solar energy facilities and equipment.

B. The Authority may provide a central hub for appropriate entities, both public and private, to enter into partnerships that result in solar energy generation projects being developed in the Commonwealth. The Authority may act as a good faith broker in such matters to facilitate appropriate partnerships, including public-private partnerships.

2015, cc. 90, 398, § 67-1503; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1905. (Expires July 1, 2025) Federal loan guarantees.

A. The Authority, on behalf of the Commonwealth, may apply to the U.S. Department of Energy for federal loan guarantees authorized or made available pursuant to Title XVII of the federal Energy Policy Act of 2005, P.L. 109-58; the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, P.L. 111-5; or other similar federal legislation to facilitate the development of solar energy projects.

B. Upon obtaining a federal loan guarantee for a solar energy project pursuant to subsection A, the Authority, subject to any restrictions imposed by federal law, may allocate or assign all or any portion thereof to a qualified third party on terms and conditions the Authority finds appropriate. Any action of the Authority relating to the allocation and assignment of such loan guarantee shall be exempt from the provisions of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.) pursuant to subdivision B 4 of § 2.2-4002. Any decision of the Authority pursuant to this section shall be final and not subject to review or appeal.

2015, cc. 90, 398, § 67-1504; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1906. (Expires July 1, 2025) Powers and duties of the Authority.

In addition to other powers and duties established under this article, the Authority has the power and duty to:

1. Adopt, use, and alter at will an official seal;

2. Make bylaws for the management and regulation of its affairs;

3. Maintain an office at any place within the Commonwealth it designates;

4. Accept, hold, and administer moneys, grants, securities, or other property transferred, given, or bequeathed to the Authority, absolutely or in trust, from any source, public or private, for the purposes for which the Authority is established;

5. Make and execute contracts and all other instruments and agreements necessary or convenient for the exercise of its powers and functions;

6. Employ, in its discretion, consultants, attorneys, architects, engineers, accountants, financial experts, investment bankers, superintendents, managers, and any other employees and agents necessary and fix their compensation to be payable from funds made available to the Authority;

7. Invest its funds as permitted by applicable law;

8. Receive and accept from any federal or private agency, foundation, corporation, association, or person grants, donations of money, or real or personal property for the benefit of the Authority, and receive and accept from the Commonwealth or any other state, from any municipality, county, or other political subdivision thereof, or from any other source, aid or contributions of either money, property, or other things of value, to be held, used, and applied for the purposes for which such grants and contributions may be made;

9. Enter into agreements with any department, agency, or instrumentality of the United States or of the Commonwealth and with lenders and enter into loans with contracting parties for the purpose of planning, regulating, and providing for the financing or assisting in the financing of any project;

10. Do any lawful act necessary or appropriate to carry out the powers granted or reasonably implied in this article;

11. Identify and take steps to mitigate existing state and regulatory or administrative barriers to the development of the solar energy and energy storage industries, including facilitating any permitting processes;

12. Enter into interstate partnerships to develop the solar energy industry, solar energy projects, and energy storage projects;

13. Collaborate with entities, including institutions of higher education, to increase the training and development of the workforce needed by the solar and energy storage industries in the Commonwealth, including industry-recognized credentials and certifications;

14. Conduct any other activities as may seem appropriate to increase solar energy generation in the Commonwealth and the associated jobs and economic development and competitiveness benefits, including assisting investor-owned utilities in the planned deployment of at least 400 megawatts of solar energy projects in the Commonwealth by 2020 through entering into agreements in its discretion in any manner provided by law for the purpose of planning and providing for the financing or assisting in the financing of the construction or purchase of such solar energy projects authorized pursuant to § 56-585.1;

15. Promote collaborative efforts among the Commonwealth's public and private institutions of higher education in research, development, and commercialization efforts related to energy storage;

16. Monitor relevant developments in energy storage technology and deployment nationally and globally and disseminate relevant information and research results; and

17. Identify and work with the Commonwealth's industries and nonprofit partners in advancing efforts related to the development and commercialization of energy storage.

2015, cc. 90, 398, § 67-1505; 2017, c. 813; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1907. (Expires July 1, 2025) Director; staff; counsel to the Authority.

A. The Director shall serve as Director of the Authority and shall administer the affairs and business of the Authority in accordance with the provisions of this article and subject to the policies, control, and direction of the Authority. The Director may obtain non-state-funded support to carry out any duties assigned to the Director. Funding for such support may be provided by any source, public or private, for the purposes for which the Authority is established. The Director shall maintain and is custodian of all books, documents, and papers of or filed with the Authority. The Director may cause copies to be made of all minutes and other records and documents of the Authority and may give certificates under seal of the Authority to the effect that such copies are true copies, and any person dealing with the Authority may rely on such certificates. The Director also shall perform other duties prescribed by the Authority in carrying out the purposes of this article.

B. The Department shall serve as staff to the Authority.

C. The Office of the Attorney General shall provide counsel to the Authority.

2015, cc. 90, 398, § 67-1506; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1908. (Expires July 1, 2025) Annual report.

On or before October 15 of each year, the Authority shall submit an annual summary of its activities and recommendations to the Governor and the Chairmen of the House Committee on Appropriations, the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations, the House Committee on Labor and Commerce, and the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor.

2015, cc. 90, 398, § 67-1507; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1909. (Expires July 1, 2025) Confidentiality of information.

A. The Authority shall hold in confidence the personal and financial information supplied to it or maintained by it concerning the siting and development of solar energy projects and energy storage projects.

B. Nothing in this section shall prohibit the Authority, in its discretion, from releasing any information that has been transformed into a statistical or aggregate form that does not allow the identification of the person who supplied particular information.

C. Information supplied by or maintained on any person or entity applying for or receiving an allocation of any federal loan guarantee, as well as specific information relating to the amount of, or the identity of the recipient of, such distribution, shall be subject to disclosure in accordance with the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.).

2015, cc. 90, 398, § 67-1508; 2017, c. 813; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1910. (Expires July 1, 2025) Declaration of public purpose; exemption from taxation.

A. The exercise of the powers granted by this article shall be in all respects for the benefit of the citizens of the Commonwealth and for the promotion of their welfare, convenience, and prosperity.

B. The Authority shall be deemed to be performing an essential governmental function in the exercise of the powers conferred upon it by this chapter, and the property of the Authority and its income and operations shall be exempt from taxation or assessments upon any property acquired or used by the Authority under the provisions of this article.

2015, cc. 90, 398, § 67-1509; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1911. (Expires July 1, 2025) Sunset.

The provisions of this article shall expire on July 1, 2025.

2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

Article 3. Clean Energy Advisory Board.

§ 45.2-1912. Definitions.

As used in this article, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Board" means the Clean Energy Advisory Board created pursuant to § 45.2-1913.

"Fund" means the Low-to-Moderate Income Solar Loan and Rebate Fund created pursuant to § 45.2-1916.

"Program" means the Low-to-Moderate Income Solar Loan and Rebate Pilot Program created pursuant to § 45.2-1917.

2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1913. Clean Energy Advisory Board; purpose.

The Clean Energy Advisory Board is established as an advisory board in the executive branch of state government. The purpose of the Board is to establish a pilot program for disbursing loans or rebates for the installation of solar energy infrastructure in low-income and moderate-income households.

2019, c. 554, § 45.1-395; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1914. Membership; terms; quorum; meetings.

A. The Board shall have a total membership of 17 members that shall consist of 16 nonlegislative citizen members and one ex officio member. Members may reside within or without the Commonwealth. Nonlegislative citizen members shall be appointed as follows:

1. Six nonlegislative citizen members to be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Delegates upon consideration of the recommendations of the Board of Directors of the Maryland-DC-Delaware-Virginia Solar Energy Industries Association (the MDV-SEIA Board) and the Governor's Advisory Council on Environmental Justice (the Council), one of whom shall be a designee of the Virginia Housing Development Authority, created pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 1.2 (§ 36-55.24 et seq.) of Title 36; one of whom shall be a rooftop solar energy professional or employer or representative of rooftop solar energy professionals; one of whom shall be a current or former member of the Council; one of whom shall be a member or representative of the Virginia, Maryland and Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives (VMDAEC); one of whom shall be an expert with experience developing low-income or moderate-income incentive and loan programs for distributed renewable energy resources; and one of whom shall be an attorney who is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth and maintains a legal practice dedicated to rural development, rural electrification, and energy policy;

2. Three nonlegislative citizen members to be appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules upon consideration of the recommendations of the MDV-SEIA Board, one of whom shall be a solar energy professional or employer or representative of solar energy professionals, one of whom shall work for or with an investor-owned electric utility company based in the Commonwealth, and one of whom shall be a member or representative of VMDAEC; and

3. Seven nonlegislative citizen members to be appointed by the Governor upon consideration of the recommendations of the MDV-SEIA Board and the Council and subject to confirmation by the General Assembly, one of whom shall be an attorney who is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth and maintains a legal practice in renewable energy law and transactions, one of whom shall be an attorney who is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth and specializes in tax law and energy transactions, one of whom shall be an attorney with the Division of Consumer Counsel created pursuant to the provisions of § 2.2-517, one of whom shall be an employee of a community development financial institution who specializes in impact investing, one of whom shall be a member of a Virginia environmental organization, and two of whom shall be designees of the Department of Housing and Community Development, created pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 8 (§ 36-131 et seq.) of Title 36.

B. The Director or his designee shall serve ex officio with voting privileges and shall assist in convening the meetings of the Board.

C. Nonlegislative citizen members of the Board shall be citizens of the Commonwealth. The ex officio member of the Board shall serve a term coincident with his term of office. Nonlegislative citizen members shall be appointed for a term of three years. Appointments to fill vacancies, other than by expiration of a term, shall be for the unexpired terms. Vacancies shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointments. All members may be reappointed.

D. The Board shall elect a chairman and vice-chairman from among its membership. A majority of the members shall constitute a quorum. The meetings of the Board shall be held at the call of the chairman or whenever the majority of the members so request.

2019, c. 554, § 45.1-396; 2020, c. 803; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1915. Powers and duties of the Board; report.

The Board has the powers and duties to:

1. Advise the Director on the management of the Fund pursuant to the provisions of § 45.2-1916;

2. Develop, establish, and operate, with the approval of the Director, the Program pursuant to the provisions of § 45.2-1917;

3. Advise the Director on the possibility of working with a community development financial institution or other financial institutions to further the purposes of the Program;

4. Advise the Director on the distribution of moneys in the Fund in the form of loans or rebates pursuant to the provisions of § 45.2-1917; and

5. Submit to the Governor and the General Assembly an annual report for publication as a report document as provided in the procedures of the Division of Legislative Automated Systems for the processing of legislative documents and reports. The chairman shall submit to the Governor and the General Assembly an annual executive summary of the interim activity and work of the Board no later than the first day of each regular session of the General Assembly. The executive summary shall be submitted for publication as a report document as provided in the procedures of the Division of Legislative Automated Systems for the processing of legislative documents and reports and shall be posted on the General Assembly's website.

2019, c. 554, § 45.1-397; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1916. Low-to-Moderate Income Solar Loan and Rebate Fund.

There is hereby established in the state treasury a special nonreverting fund to be known as the Low-to-Moderate Income Solar Loan and Rebate Fund. The Fund shall be established on the books of the Comptroller. All funds appropriated for such purpose and any gifts, donations, grants, bequests, and other funds received on its behalf shall be paid into the state treasury and credited to the Fund. Interest earned on moneys in the Fund shall remain in the Fund and be credited to it. Any moneys remaining in the Fund, including interest thereon, at the end of each fiscal year shall not revert to the general fund but shall remain in the Fund. Moneys in the Fund shall be used solely for the purposes of extending loans or paying rebates to electric customers who complete solar installations or energy efficiency improvements pursuant to the provisions of § 45.2-1917. Expenditures and disbursements from the Fund shall be made by the State Treasurer on warrants issued by the Comptroller upon written request signed by the Director.

2019, c. 554, § 45.1-398; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 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.