Old Dominion Innovations, Inc. of Richmond, Va. Installs First Solar Energy Array For Dominion Power’s Solar Purchase Program

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Utility's Solar Purchase Program offers attractive subsidies, spurring new interest in solar panel installations throughout the Commonwealth.

'Subsidizing solar energy stimulates the economy, protects the environment, helps create good jobs, eases the burden on our aging electrical grid, and creates a sound investment opportunity for Virginians.'- Steve Fitchett, ODI

Old Dominion Innovations, Inc., (http://www.OldDominionInnovations.com/solar/) a Richmond, Virginia based Solar Contractor, has completed installation of the first solar energy system specifically designed to sell power back to Dominion Power under their new Solar Purchase Program.

The Hillsman-Hix funeral home in Amelia is producing and selling power back to the utility with a new 20kw, roof mounted, solar panel array recently designed and installed by Old Dominion Innovations.

Under the solar buyback program, the utility will purchase solar energy and Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) from individuals and businesses at a premium rate of 15 cents per kilowatt hour. This is an alternative to the utility’s “net-metering” arrangement, which allows consumers to feed power back to the utility to offset usage. Compared with the average 10.5 cents Dominion charges customers for power, the higher buy rate under the Solar Purchase Program allows solar energy system owners to realize a return on their investment much sooner, providing a valuable financial incentive for the creation of a solar infrastructure in the Commonwealth.

Old Dominion Innovations, Inc. considers the Dominion Solar Purchase Program a great opportunity for Virginians looking for green investments. Explains owner Steve Fitchett, “We always run the math for customers considering solar energy to determine when they can expect to break even and then begin profiting from their investment. Factoring in costs, usage, available incentives, the system’s expected production, current and projected electric rates and other variables, we can determine what size system represents the best investment for any given customer.” He continues, “The Solar Purchase Program is one of the best solar incentives that Virginians have had access to in the past few years. We’re encouraging interested consumers to act quickly because this is a pilot program limited to 3 megawatts of power and it’s being administered on a first come, first-served basis. There’s a tremendous demand for alternative energy incentives in the Commonwealth. Unlike other states, where SRECS are privately traded, Virginians have had relatively limited access to financial incentives for solar power.”

Hillsman-Hix Funeral Home has been in business in Amelia since 1960. Director Jim Hix explains that the decision to install a solar system was multifaceted. “Solar was a good idea for us for a number of reasons. We have been in business for over fifty years here in Amelia and we are invested in serving this community. Going green is a natural extension of that. From a financial standpoint, the solar system is already saving us thousands of dollars each year. Over the life of the solar panels, thirty years or more, we expect it will pay for itself many times over. Old Dominion Innovations was able to answer all of our technical questions and show us exactly which configuration would give us the results we wanted. They worked with Dominion to get us enrolled in the program, and completed the installation on a tight deadline. They were completely professional. We couldn’t be more pleased with the results.”

Steve Fitchett adds, “We hope that the success of this buyback program will demonstrate the demand for expanded solar subsidies in Virginia. Consumers want to have choices about their energy sources, and they’re willing to invest when it makes sense financially. They like the idea that they are helping to move the U.S. away from it’s dependence on foreign oil by helping build a strong renewable energy infrastructure, and incentivizing that initial investment makes solar a much more attractive, realistic project for the average home or business owner. Subsidizing solar energy is good for all of us. It stimulates the economy, protects the environment, helps create good jobs, eases the burden on our aging electrical grid, and creates a sound investment opportunity for Virginians. We’d like to see more of these programs.”

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Dawn Fitchett
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