Dominion constructs another solar plant outside of Virginia

Dominion, the Virginia-based energy conglomerate with a broad portfolio of energy interests including solar, will develop a 60-MW solar farm in North Carolina — its 10th outside of its home state.

The plant, located near Moycock, N.C., will be operational by December and already has 25-year power-purchase agreements (PPAs) with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston Medical Center and Post Office Square Redevelopment Corp.

CustomerFirst Renewables, a Gaithersburg, Md., advisory services firm, negotiated the PPAs with Massachusetts organizations.

Its other solar plants are in California, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, North Carolina and Tennessee totalling 547 MW.

In the past, Dominion has lobbied state lawmakers to defeat net-metering laws in Virginia, has undervalued its payments to solar customers and has argued in favor of extra demand fees to solar users.

Gabe Elser, founder of the Energy and Policy Institute, a self-described watchdog organization that defends renewable energy from utility attacks, wrote that Dominion successful scuttled a 2014 net-metering bill because “Dominion Virginia Power has an interest in maintaining it’s dominance of the Virginia electricity market and stopping growth of emerging clean energy industries, especially distributed clean energy because of the threat it poses to Dominion’s profits.”

But in 2015, Dominion committed to adding 400 MW of solar to its portfolio by 2020. The first of those plants is expected to come online in December in partnership with Amazon. It pledged to use Virginia-based companies in the construction of these plants, which will generate enough electricity at peak capacity to power 100,000 homes.