Our friend Karen Schaufeld, Powered by Facts, published the following open letter in support of solar electricity. Powered by Facts, MDV-SEIA (the regional solar trade association) and the electric utilities have spent the last eight months developing a consensus view on a broad range of issues impacting the deployment of solar energy in Virginia. SolUnesco has supported this process and supports the Bills forthcoming from this process.
December 22, 2016
Powered by Facts recently hosted an event for all farmers, including wineries, breweries and others hoping to farm the sun in Virginia. Given that Bloomberg recently reported that solar is — for the first time ever — cheaper than any other new electricity, our event was timely.
At our gathering of state lawmakers, solar representatives, the agricultural community and energy experts, a panel discussed why it is so difficult for farmers and businesses to “go solar” in the Commonwealth. Unfortunately, state policy creates roadblocks that make Virginia less attractive to corporations with business continuity and sustainability mandates while it keeps us:
- reliant on outside energy sources;
- reliant on more traditional forms of energy that cost ratepayers more money; and
- reliant on an energy grid that is less stable, reliable and secure than those that include renewable energy sources.
That may change in the 2017 General Assembly, which begins on January 11. A set of bills have been put forth for consideration in the upcoming session. One of these would offer existing farms an opportunity to add an additional income stream through solar and allow utilities to purchase output from farmers at market price. The bill also would increase the size of facilities that small agricultural generators may install up to 1.5 MW and 150% of the farm’s usage and allow for growth in agricultural self-generation as a farm’s needs increase.
Powered by Facts is very supportive of this potential measure and will keep you updated on it and how you can support it in the New Year. As we head into the 2017 Assembly, Powered by Facts will share as much as possible with you about this and other potential solar legislation, as well as ways to contact your Senators and Delegates to share your support of solar and other renewables.
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