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Tag Archive: Solar Energy Industry Association

Solar Focus Spreads the Good News

Join us and MDV-SEIA at the annual Solar Focus Conference in Baltimore, Maryland on November 20th – 21st, a major effort of our Maryland-District of Columbia-Virginia chapter of the Solar Energy Industry Association (MDV-SEIA). It will celebrate the latest solar policy achievements, and focus on how the solar industry can continue its recent policy successes and commercial growth.

Solar Focus brings together solar professionals and industry leaders from across the country to share ideas, build partnerships, and envision the future of solar power. In addition to panels, there will be a Women in Solar Breakfast, job fair, and many more networking opportunities. GreeneHurlocker continues to be a sponsor for this important and influential industry event, and we’ll be hooking you up to the free wifi!

Eric Hurlocker at his desk

I will be on site to join in the usual spirited discussions about how to promote and grow the role of solar energy in our lives and our businesses.I hope you can join me at the final panel of the conference where I will be speaking on Case Studies in the Utility-Scale Industry.

Look me up when you’re at the Hilton, I’ll be out in the halls and would love to talk with you about the things on your mind and what your company is looking forward to in the next year. If you want more information about MDV-SEIA or to talk about renewable energy development just give me a call, or talk to any of our solar energy and utility lawyers.

Back at Solar Focus!

We are very proud to be among the great sponsors of Solar Focus 2017 here in Washington DC!  We are looking forward to another great conference and supporting the continued growth of solar generation in the Mid Atlantic!

If you are here, please join us for coffee this morning.

More Appalachian Power Customers Choosing Solar Energy

An article in yesterday’s News & Advance profiled a Lynchburg business that has invested over half a million dollars to produce solar energy at its headquarters. BMS Direct, a company that processes invoices and billing statements, now has over 900 solar panels on the roof of its 80,000-square-foot facility in Lynchburg. The solar panels now supply about half of the company’s electric needs, and the resulting energy savings are expected to pay for the cost of the system in six years.

Several factors, including declining solar panel prices and federal investment tax credits, make it a great time to invest in solar energy. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (“SEIA”), solar has experienced an average annual growth rate of 68%, while installed solar prices have dropped 55% over the last five years. The installed cost of a solar installation is now between $2.30 per watt and $2.75 per watt for residential systems and $1.40 per watt and $2.20 per watt for commercial systems. Federal law currently authorizes a 30% tax credit for residential and commercial solar systems, although this percentage is scheduled to decline beginning in 2020.

Virginia law allows all customers to generate their own renewable energy on site by “net metering.” Electric utilities in Virginia are required to offer net metering programs, which allow residential customers and businesses like BMS Direct to install renewable energy facilities on their property. Net metering customers only have to pay their utility for their electricity usage that is in excess of what they generate on site. Appalachian Power (“APCo”) says that about 750 of its customers participate in the net metering program.

Moreover, Virginia customers are also currently permitted to purchase 100% renewable energy, including solar, from non-utility companies. Under Virginia law, most customers are allowed to purchase renewable generation from third-party suppliers only if their incumbent electric utility does not have an approved tariff for 100% renewable energy. See Va. Code Section 56-577(A)(5). However, no Virginia utility currently offers a 100% renewable energy option for its customers. As we have written about here, the Virginia State Corporation Commission (“SCC”) recently rejected a renewable energy tariff proposal by APCo that, if approved, would have prevented its customers from purchasing solar energy from third-party suppliers.

The SCC is also currently considering a similar renewable tariff application filed by Dominion Energy Virginia (“Dominion”) in SCC Case No.PUR-2017-00060. If approved, Dominion’s tariff would limit clean energy choices for its large customers, and potentially other classes of customers in the future.

If you want to learn more about the regulations governing solar installations, and whether developing a solar energy project may make sense for you or your business, please contact one of our renewable energy lawyers or regulatory attorneys.

Coffee Was Great; Solar Focus Even Better

solar focus textWe’ve just returned from Solar Focus 2015, the mid-Atlantic’s premier education and networking meeting for participants in the solar and renewable energy industry. As in past years, it was held in Washington, DC, and attracted a sell-out crowd. In an effort to keep everyone’s energy high, our firm sponsored the coffee breaks and afternoon snacks.

In addition to all the great friendships we renewed and strengthened, along with the impassioned industry leaders we met for the first time, we attended some fantastic and thought provoking sessions on current and developing opportunities. We had the good fortune to moderate a panel on breaking into untapped markets — a topic that we will continue to follow and discuss here in the weeks to come.

Meanwhile, we snapped a few photos, so if you were not able to be there, here’s a little of what you missed. If you want to know more about the conference, the Maryland-Washington, DC-Virginia Solar Energy Industry Association (who put on the conference) or the legal and regulatory environment the solar industry lives in, just call any of our energy and utility lawyers.

Solar-Focus-2015-1 Solar-Focus-2015-3
Solar-Focus-2015-2 Solar-Focus-2015-4

State Corporation Commission Denies Dominion’s Remington Solar Facility Application

The Virginia State Corporation Commission (the “SCC”) issued a Final Order on October 20, 2015 (the “Order”) denying Dominion Virginia Power’s (“Dominion”) application to construct and operate a 20 megawatt utility-scale solar electric generating facility near the town of Remington in Fauquier County, Virginia (the “Facility”). In Dominion’s application, Dominion proposed to construct the Facility on a 280-acre parcel of land owned by Dominion, located across from Dominion’s existing natural gas-fired Remington Power Station. In addition, Dominion requested SCC approval of a rate adjustment clause to recover costs associated with the Facility.

Section 56-585.1(A)(6) of the Code of Virginia requires a utility seeking SCC approval to construct a generating facility to demonstrate that in its selection process it has “considered and weighted alternative options, including third-party market alternatives.” Furthermore, Virginia law requires the SCC to consider the extent to which such proposed facility is “likely to result in unreasonable increases in rates paid by consumers.”

In its Order, the SCC held that Dominion did not demonstrate that it considered and weighed alternative options, including third-party market alternatives, during the selection process for the Facility, as is required by Virginia law. The SCC went on to hold that Dominion had not established that the costs of the Facility to be paid by consumers “would be reasonable or prudent.” The SCC cited testimony from MDV-SEIA, the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition and the Virginia Sierra Club that a request for proposal process (which Dominion did not conduct) “could have provided evidence as to whether lower-cost alternatives exist to provide this renewable power.”

The SCC explained that Dominion may refile an application that meets all statutory requirements, including the requirements regarding third-party market alternatives and establishing the reasonableness and prudence of any costs proposed for recovery from consumers. GreeneHurlocker represented MDV-SEIA in the SCC proceeding. If you have questions or need information about the Order or MDV-SEIA, please contact one of our Virginia energy lawyers.

Eric Hurlocker Re-elected to Board of MDV-SEIA

Eric W. Hurlocker, co-managing partner of the GreeneHurlocker law firm, has been elected to a second term on the Board of the Maryland, District of Columbia and Virginia Solar Energy Industry Association, association executive director Dana Sleeper announced recently.

Hurlocker joined the MDV-SEIA Board of Directors in 2013 and also serves as general counsel to the association. His work for the MDV-SEIA Board includes identifying and addressing issues in Virginia and the other states served by MDV-SEIA that may affect solar and other renewable power development.

“I am lEric Hurlockerooking forward to continuing my role on the MDV-SEIA board and within the regional solar community,” said Hurlocker.

“What a great time this is to be serving the solar industry, with so much positive change on the national level, the regional level, and particularly in Virginia, where my firm is located,” he explained.

MDV-SEIA members design, sell, integrate, install, maintain and finance solar energy equipment for residential, commercial, and institutional customers throughout the region and the membership includes accountants, attorneys, builders, architects, electricians, plumbers, and consultants that support solar industries, according to the group. Solar has made tremendous strides in the Mid-Atlantic over the last few years and MDV-SEIA has led the policy changes that have created this market, reports its website.

Hurlocker represent clients involved in renewable energy matters including solar energy producers, investors and suppliers, retail energy generators and distributors, and renewable energy companies and distributors. He has been an energy lawyer for over twenty years and earned his law degree at the University of Richmond’s School of Law.

Virginia Solar Development Still Behind

Yesterday’s Richmond Times Dispatch included a front page article on solar energy development in Virginia. Compared to some nearby states, Virginia remains behind the curve in solar development. Our clients and our friends in the Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia Solar Energy Industries Association are working hard to bring increased solar development to Virginia. We’re excited about the future. If you have any questions about the industry in Virginia, just call one of our solar energy lawyers.

Sponsoring MDV-SEIA Clean Energy Lobby Day

GreeneHurlocker was pleased to be among the sponsors for the Virginia Advanced Energy Industries Coalition (VAEIC) and Maryland, DC, Virginia-Solar Energy Industries Association (MDV-SEIA) Clean Energy Lobby Day (CELD) 2015  Tuesday, February 3rd.

The day-long meeting was held at 200 S. 10th Street in Richmond, and brought together the advanced energy businesses of Virginia with key legislators to support and discuss clean technology bills for the upcoming General Assembly session. This year, organizers reported a record attendance from  business representatives , legislators, regulators and McAuliffe administration executives.

As a firm with a strong interest in the renewable energy sector, as well as our work in competitive markets throughout the Mid-Atlantic, we will be there again this year. Please make a point to say hello to our clean energy and utility regulation lawyers if you’re attending!

Back from Solar Focus with Good News

We’ve just returned from Solar Focus 2014, the big Maryland-District of Columbia-Virginia (MDV) Solar Energy Industry Association conference in Washington, D.C. and our client Secure Futures, LLC, was recognized as Solar Innovation of the Year.

This is no small feat, and we offer congratulations to Tony Smith, president, and his management team who “brought to market a new concept, innovation, or product that promises to help advance the solar industry”, according to the award criteria. Secure Futures is a solar development company headquartered in Staunton, VA. They combine state-of–the-art solar technology with an innovative business model to make commercial scale solar readily affordable in Virginia. We’ve been their business counsel since before we formed the law firm, providing commercial and regulatory advice for its solar generation development projects.SEIA-MDV SOlar Focus Sponsor sign

Another piece of good news, as far as we’re concerned, is the group of great companies we were among as sponsors of the conference. Take a look at the banner that greeted the attendees and you can see a lot of industry heavyweights joined us to support the meeting.

We’ll be sharing more about Solar Focus 2014 in the weeks ahead, as we digest the material from the meetings we attended and moderated. If you have questions about the conference or any solar energy issue in Virginia. Maryland or DC, just give Leeron Molloy or Eric Hurlocker a call.