Utilities, Commercial, Finance, Industrial, Solar  -  February 14, 2017

C&I customers drive $800M utility solar investment

A testament to the customer-backed ramp-up of renewable energy within utility generation portfolios, Virginia-based utility giant Dominion on Feb. 14 said it is investing more than $800 million in solar power in Virginia, primarily supported by its largest energy customers. 

Dominion Resources said in a news release that about 398 MW of solar generation have already been completed or are under development throughout much of Virginia, and that most of the development and construction costs will be borne by specific contractual customers such as large business and government.

The utility said more than 80% of the cost of the facilities is being covered by large business and government customers, including the Commonwealth of Virginia and the University of Virginia, who signed long-term contracts with Dominion to develop the generation. In addition to building larger solar-powered units, Dominion's Solar Partnership Program has placed company-owned solar panels on leased rooftops and grounds of government and business properties throughout its Virginia service area.

In February 2015, Dominion committed to developing 400 MW of large-scale solar generation facilities in Virginia and placing them in service by 2020. Additionally, legislation passed by the Virginia General Assembly in 2015 found that development by Virginia utilities of up to 500 MW of solar projects in the state was "in the public interest."  

The company has also been executing a number of agreements with Amazon Web Services to supply solar energy to power the Amazon.com Inc. unit's data centers in the state.

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