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Dominion Virginia Power has proposed a new rate that includes a premium to encourage customers to install solar panels and sell the electricity to the utility.

In a filing with the Virginia State Corporation Commission, Dominion is seeking permission to buy solar-generated electricity from residential and small commercial customers at $0.15/kWh for a five-year demonstration period. The demonstration project would be limited to a total of 3 MW.

The proposed rate is designed to pay a premium to customers who generate electricity with solar power to defray installation costs. The premiums would come from the contributions that customers participating in the utility’s Green Power Program make to support the production and development of renewable energy.

"We know this program will be a success, based on conversations with our existing customers who have already installed solar panels and other customers who have been discussing this option with us," explains Ken D. Barker, vice president of customer solutions and energy conservation.

Approximately 14,000 Dominion Virginia Power customers participate in the company's Green Power program. They pay a slightly higher rate so that either all or a portion of their electricity is offset by certified green power sources. The proposed solar rate program will match the Dominion Green Power customers with customers who choose to generate solar energy on their property and sell the electricity to Dominion.

The proposed fixed rate also could be an alternative to the company's existing net-metering program, Dominion adds.


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