Dominion Virginia Power announced the results of the first round of its solar Request for Proposal (RFP) process on October 1st, 2015. The RFP will result in 56 megawatts (MW) of additional solar capacity to Dominion’s portfolio through 2016 from three separate projects. According to its press release, Dominion will purchase these projects for a price per unit of capacity almost identical to their Remington project. The cost will be $2.313 per MW AC for these three projects compared to $2.35 per MW AC for the Remington project, a 1.6% difference.
Dominion’s RFP requested that the competitive market submit proposals for either i) Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) – Dominion only purchases the power and a third-party owns the system or ii) Dominion purchases the generating facility. The press release states “[Dominion] also is pursuing power purchase agreements with other solar developers as a result of the RFP.”
Dana Sleeper, Executive Director of the Maryland, DC and Virginia Solar Energy Industries Association, stated in response to the announcement:
“We are encouraged that Dominion has looked to the competitive market to finally tap into Virginia’s vast potential for solar energy. The General Assembly and Dominion’s actions demonstrate that solar power provides a reliable, cost-competitive energy source. Further, renewable energy and energy efficiency provide critical diversity hedging the historically demonstrated extreme price volatility from fossil fuels. Prior to this RFP, Virginia had less than 20 MWs deployed with less than one MW deployed in 2014. By going to the competitive market, Dominion was able to source in one RFP more than ninety times the solar delivered by Dominion last year.
We recommend that Virginia build on this success and that Dominion continue to look to the competitive market. First, we believe Dominion and the State Corporation Commission have a responsibility to provide pricing transparency. Ratepayers deserve to know whether they would be better off if Dominion were to purchase power from a third party or own the generation. Second, a multi-year RFP process, with stated deployment goals in accordance with Dominion’s Integrated Resource Plan, would provide additional certainty to the competitive market and ultimately reduce costs to ratepayers. Such a process has been extremely successful in other states where utilities have elected to pursue the deployment of large scale solar. This type of RFP would create a transparent evaluation of third party options, including comparing third-party owned PPA pricing, against Dominion owned projects.
MDV-SEIA is confident that solar has valuable benefits to offer Virginia’s businesses and families. Today more than 173,000 Americans work at 7,600 solar energy companies across the nation in all 50 states, and the industry is growing rapidly. We look forward to working in concert with the SSC, Dominion, and other stakeholders to help Virgina become an important player in the national solar success story.”
Our members design, sell, integrate, install, maintain and finance solar energy equipment for residential, commercial, and institutional customers throughout the region. Among our ranks are the accountants, attorneys, builders, architects, electricians, plumbers, and consultants that support the solar industries. 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. In the last two years alone, MDV-SEIA’s leadership has resulted in increased state mandated requirements as well as increased penalties for non-compliance, creation of a solar thermal market, improvements to net metering, and game changing gains in the deployment of these green energy technologies.