Dominion Energy Virginia has proposed its largest slate yet of new solar projects as the company moves forward to provide customers with more clean energy. The nine solar facilities would bring nearly 500 megawatts (MW) of new renewable energy to customers, enough to power around 125,000 homes at peak output. The proposal comes just months after enactment of the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA) and builds on what is already the third-largest solar portfolio among utility holding companies in the United States.
The proposal includes 498 MW of solar capacity, spread across nine projects statewide. Of these nine projects, six, totaling 416 MW, would provide the utility with power via power purchase agreements (PPA), while the remaining three projects are set to be owned and operated by Dominion.
Those three Dominion-owned facilities are still under development and are still subject to regulatory approval prior to construction beginning. Grassfield Solar is a 20-MW project, one that was acquired from Solar Access Development Group. Norge Solar will be another 20-MW installation, acquired from Clearway Energy Group. This installation will be put up in James City, Virginia. The largest of the Dominion-owned bunch will be the Sycamore Solar project, a 42-MW installation acquired from Open Road Renewables and MAP Energy. This installation will be constructed in Pittsylvania County, Virginia.
These 500 MW are also tied to a renewable project solicitation released by the utility in the spring. This solicitation looks to get bids for up to 1,000 MW of solar and onshore wind generation and up to 250 MW of energy storage. The announcement of the projects also comes at a convenient time for Dominion, as the company has recently been slammed over its proposed community solar programs.
Alongside the proposal, Dominion has also filed a regional portfolio standard (RPS) development plan, which details a strategy for achieving RPS compliance through 2035, as well as certain Virginia Clean Economy Act targets for solar/onshore wind and energy storage development in the same timeframe. The projects will provide a significant boom for Dominion’s renewable generation fleet in short time, with Virginia’s RPS requiring that 100 per cent of the electricity sold in the state in 2045 and beyond be renewably sourced.
REGlobal’s Views: Virginia has taken significant steps towards shifting to renewable energy, as far as solar is concerned. The state has installed 1.1 GW of solar capacity. However, over the next five years, the state is expected to add more than 4 GW of solar. Most of this solar will be coming courtesy of Dominion’s 2020 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), one which looks to deploy 16 GW of new solar generation in the next 15 years.