Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has signed into law the 2018 omnibus energy bill that encourages the growth of renewable energy in the Commonwealth, designating 5.5 gigawatts of solar and wind energy to be in the public interest and initiating a process to modernize the state’s power grid to make adoption of renewables easier.
Virginia is the 20th largest solar state in the U.S., with 291 megawatts of cumulative solar capacity installed. Without factoring in the new law, Virginia is projected to install 1,777 megawatts over the next five years, the 11th most in the nation. The state’s solar industry employs 3,565 workers, ranking it 21st among states.
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Maryland-DC-Virginia Solar Energy Industries Association (MDV-SEIA) are happy with the outcome. Here’s Sean Gallagher, SEIA’s vice president of state affairs:
“The solar industry commends Governor Northam’s leadership in convening stakeholders around Virginia’s energy future. Designating 5.5 gigawatts of clean energy to be in the public interest is a great first step to help Virginia spur solar development and catch up with neighboring states which are already clean energy leaders. However, we must ensure the grid modernization process that this bill initiates is data-driven, solicits the public’s input, and is not a blank check for a utility to spend consumers’ money with little accountability. We look forward to engaging with Virginia utilities and lawmakers throughout this legislation’s implementation process.”
Following is a statement from David Murray, MDV-SEIA’s Executive Director:
“This law is the result of utilities, manufacturers, small businesses, and consumer advocates agreeing upon one thing: solar is a smart investment for Virginia. We will continue working toward policies that ensure the Commonwealth takes full advantage of the jobs and economic development opportunities offered by solar energy.”
— Solar Builder magazine