State legislators pass new measures making affordable solar program more accessible to Virginian region: 'It's a step forward in building an equitable clean-energy economy'

Virginia is gearing up to harness the power of solar energy like never before with the launch of shared solar programs across the state.

As reported by Renewable Energy World, the General Assembly has approved measures that will make solar energy more accessible to residents, marking a significant step toward a cleaner and more equitable energy future.

Solar power is extremely impactful. In the past year, India saved a huge $4.2 billion by switching to solar energy, reducing its reliance on coal. This is a big deal because coal is a major source of pollution. Solar energy is also creating lots of new jobs and helping economies grow all around the world.

Additionally, as more solar projects are built, solar power is getting cheaper. By 2030, it's predicted that a third of the world's electricity will come from the sun and wind, making clean energy more affordable for everyone. Plus, new ideas like floating solar panels and community solar projects — like the one in Virginia — are finding new ways to use the sun's energy without taking up a lot of land.

Community solar is like joining a community garden for solar power. Virginians can sign up to receive solar energy from panels installed in a shared location — just like how members of a community garden share the produce grown in a communal space. This model is particularly attractive for those unable to install rooftop solar panels due to financial constraints, shaded properties, or housing restrictions.

In Dominion Energy's territory, the existing shared solar program is set to expand from 200 MW to 350 MW, with half of the additional capacity designated for lower-income subscribers. Similarly, Appalachian Power will launch a 50 MW shared solar program, marking a significant step forward for a region historically reliant on coal.

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Advocates believe that these programs will not only make renewable energy more accessible but will also create opportunities for economic development and job growth in the clean energy sector. Shared solar subscribers are expected to see savings on their monthly electric bills while contributing to the expansion of renewable energy in the state.

Additionally, there is optimism that Virginia's shared solar programs will continue to grow with

the help of federal funding. A recent $156 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will boost residential solar programs serving marginalized communities, furthering the state's commitment to clean energy and equity.

Robin Dutta, the executive director of the Chesapeake Solar and Storage Association, emphasized the bipartisan support for clean-energy initiatives, saying: "It's a great example of how clean energy should be bipartisan because it's a step forward in building an equitable clean-energy economy."

Virginia's move toward shared solar represents a significant step toward a cleaner, fairer energy future for all residents. As the state continues to navigate the complexities of energy policy, advocates remain hopeful that incremental progress will pave the way for a more sustainable tomorrow.

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