Marking the occasion of Earth Day, Governor Terry McAuliffe signed into law a package of bills that is designed to significantly expand the growth of the clean energy economy and green jobs in Virginia.
The legislative package includes the following bills:
HB 2267 and SB 1099 – This bill authorizes the creation of the Virginia Solar Energy Development Authority. The new state entity will support and facilitate development of Virginia’s solar industry and solar-powered facilities.
HB 1950 and SB1395 – This bill doubles the allowed generation capacity for a solar net energy metering facility in Virginia.
HB 2237 – This bill authorizes utility cost recovery for construction or purchase of a solar facility with capacity over 1MW. It also designates 500MW solar generation projects as being in the public interest.
SB 1331 – This bill supports natural gas energy efficiency programs by clarifying how costs are evaluated by the State Corporation Commission.
HB 1446 and SB 801 – This bill expands the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, which has been instrumental in helping localities establish loan programs for financing commercial building energy efficiency projects using private capital.
HB 1843 and SB 1037 – This bill extends the Green Jobs Tax Credit for another three years. This Virginia economic development incentive program provides employers creating green jobs in Virginia with a $500 tax credit per job created.
The bill signing ceremony that made this legislation law was held at Capital One’s Meadowville Technology Park in Chester, VA, as part of the company’s week-long Earth Day celebration events. Dominion Power recently completed a 500 KW solar array installation at this site.
In a release issued after the bill signing, Gov. McAuliffe said that these legislative initiatives are key components of his Virginia Energy Plan and will significantly expand solar generation, energy efficiency programs and green jobs in the Commonwealth.
Delegate Jennifer McClellan, who introduced the net metering bill, said in the release that creating laws that attract clean energy to Virginia will help to build economic and environmental sustainability for Virginia families, communities and businesses.
Delegate David Yancey, who introduced the utility-scale solar bill, said that with this legislation, Virginia is taking a much needed step in developing a solar industry in the state.
Yancey said it shows that important issues like energy can bring a variety of parties together to achieve a common goal, and added that he worked with environmental groups, small businesses and Dominion Power to craft a bill that was in line with the Governor’s energy policies.