Virginia General Assembly passes pro-solar legislation

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The Virginia General Assembly passed House Bill 1062/Senate Bill 271, allowing third-party solar leasing while prohibiting the requirement for additional liability insurance for solar installation and prohibiting standby charges for energy storage. The law goes into effect July 1, 2024.

Virginia has set a goal of 30% renewable energy by 2030, and 100% by 2050. While much of the buildout thus far has been at the utility-scale, passage of these bills will further incentivize solar and energy storage at the residential and commercial levels. 

The bill was co-sponsored Alfonso Lopez (D) and Dan Helmer (D) with the prime sponsor Rodney Willett (D), a delegate for Virginia’s 58th house district. It passed with a vote of 57 to 42, with just three Republicans voting for it and no Democrats voting against.

Full text of the bills can be found here.

“I’m so proud that we were able to earn bipartisan support on this bill and that we were able to bring all of the key stakeholders–climate advocates, solar installers, and our utilities–together to send the best bill possible to the Governor’s desk,” said Willett. “This bill will help the Commonwealth look forward in our clean energy transition, attract more businesses to Virginia, and allow more people to utilize solar energy in a more affordable and accessible way.”

With nearly 5 GW of capacity, Virginia currently ranks 11th for solar installed, according to Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). The state is meeting an impressive 6.56% of electrical needs with solar.

“SEIA commends Governor Youngkin and leaders in the General Assembly for supporting a strong, bipartisan solution to give Virginians the freedom to choose the energy that works for them,” said Caitlin Vincent, Southeast senior manager for SEIA. “As thousands of Virginia families consider their energy choices and install solar over the next decade, the solar and storage industry is taking steps to ensure every installation is safe, reliable, and meets customer expectations. SEIA will continue to advocate for policies that open the market for solar, put customers first, and strengthen Virginia’s energy economy.”

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