MDV-SEIA hosted its inaugural solar education session at the Shirlington Library in Arlington last night, which proved to be a great success. Jon Hillis of Prospect Solar led the event and gave a presentation on the difficulties surrounding the solar industry in the state of Virginia, including what residents should expect when shopping for a system and how to talk to their legislators about solar.
The engaged residents at the event came prepared with numerous questions. One resident wanted to know more about an issue his daughter was having with an HOA in Virginia that would not allow her system to be built on the street-facing side of her home. MDV-SEIA has worked hard to combat issues with unreasonable HOA restrictions on solar. Following the legislation passed in Virginia last year that prevents HOAs from imposing unreasonable restrictions on solar installations, MDV-SEIA has developed numerous education documents including HOA bylaws recommendations, solar education flyers, and more.
Another resident asked about the best way to install solar on a large piece of Virginia property. There are a number of options that can considered for people who want to install larger systems; however, in Virginia, without an SREC market to attract financing, it is difficult to get large projects off the ground. This upcoming session, two bills are currently being drafted that could make a project that size feasible. Passing an Energy Diversity Plan for Virginia’s energy mix would create a demand for SRECs and attract financiers to the state. McAuliffe outlined his support for the Energy Diversity Plan and Virginia Solar Authority at the Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Summit on December 5th, 2014. Also, a net metering bill that is being considered would allow Virginia homeowners that don’t have a suitable roof and renters that cannot add solar to their homes access to shares in a solar project. Each of these pieces of legislation would allow this homeowner the proper financing and mechanisms to accomplish her goal of making her home and state a little greener.