Dominion Energy is one of the nation’s largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 25,600 MW of generation and 6,600 miles of electric transmission lines as of 2017. Dominion Energy operates one of the nation’s largest natural gas storage systems with 1 trillion cubic feet of storage capacity and serves more than 6 million utility and retail energy customers. The company serves approximately 2.6 million electric utility customers in Virginia and North Carolina, operating as Dominion Energy Virginia and Dominion Energy North Carolina in the respective states.
The ultimate goal for Dominion Energy’s Virginia Solar Pathways Project was to develop a collaborative utility-administered solar strategy for the Commonwealth of Virginia. The process had three main objectives:
At the outset of this project, Virginia had a nascent solar market. Dominion Energy offered several solar programs to its retail customers, but its generation fleet in Virginia consisted of just four distributed solar facilities totaling a little more than 1 MW of capacity. The company adopted a goal of developing 400 MW of utility-scale solar capacity by 2020. By the end of its three-year Solar Market Pathways project, Dominion Energy Virginia had dozens of solar facilities operational or under construction, totaling 744 MW of generating capacity, and the company plans to add as much as 5,280 MW in the next 25 years. The parent company, Dominion Energy, grew to become one of the top 10 investor-owned utility holding companies in terms of ownership of operating and planned solar capacity in 2017.
Dominion Energy’s recent expansion of solar capacity in Virginia is the result of a comprehensive solar strategy. The Virginia Solar Pathways Project report documents Dominion Energy’s solar strategy and puts forth a model for other utilities that wish to increase their ability to manage and administer solar programs and sustainably expand large-scale and distributed solar capacity.
To craft this strategy, Dominion engaged a Core Advisory Team made up of a diverse group of stakeholders from a state government agency, an environmental organization, local community representatives, research and educational institutions, and a solar installation company.
The Core Advisory Team participated in four training sessions in the spring of 2015 to help develop a common understanding of the electric grid, the distribution system, the economics of solar, and soft costs. Advisors received basic training in the areas of transmission and distribution grids, generation resources and technologies, solar program models, market and regulatory issues affecting deployment, and the current status of solar in Dominion’s service territory. The following training materials established a common foundation of technical and regulatory understanding for the Core Advisory Team:
The Core Advisory Team also helped review and guide the four reports included in the Technical Studies section below, and developed a consensus framework for the Virginia Solar Market Pathways Strategy. In addition to engaging the Core Advisory Team, Dominion Energy provided additional opportunities to receive input from other stakeholders through a collaborative convened by the Virginia Center for Consensus Building at Virginia Commonwealth University.
This presentation provides an introduction to electric power and the electric utility industry.
This presentation focuses on technologies for electricity generation and how the utility acquires the generation resources needed to meet demand.
This presentation explains the components of the transmission and distribution systems and how they are operated.
This presentation summarizes the policy and regulatory framework governing electric utilities
A presentation provided to Virginia stakeholders as an introduction to the concept of solar PV.
To guide decisions and facilitate the system-wide integration of solar generation, Dominion commissioned a series of four technical studies and developed a short report summarizing the key takeaways and conclusions of each study:
This study provides a roadmap for the utility to safely and reliably integrate increasing amounts of distributed generation solar into the distribution system
This study examines how greater quantities of residential and utility-scale solar PV interact with the existing electric generation portfolio.
This study evaluates opportunities to reduce soft costs of solar generation, including acquisition and financing.
1. The potential for soft cost reductions through utility-administered solar.
2. Utility involvement in community solar development in the Southeast.
3. The financial impacts of tax normalization policy on utility-led solar development.
Scan of existing community solar programs across the country to provide insight into existing program design, program performance, and the customer experience
This document briefly summarizes the key takeaways and conclusions from the four technical studies described above.
Guided by the conclusions and findings of the comprehensive technical studies described above, the Dominion team developed a Virginia Solar Pathways Project strategy report that details a statewide strategy for utility-administered solar programs. The project team also worked with the Core Advisory Team and community college partners to develop a solar workforce development strategy for the Commonwealth.
Dominion Energy’s solar workforce development strategy.
A final project report describing Dominion Energy Virginia’s project to develop a utility-administered solar strategy for Virginia.
Solar is growing in Virginia faster than Dominion had projected when this project began. By the time projects currently under construction are completed, installed solar capacity will be nearly double the company’s original project goals for the year 2020, demonstrating how quickly a nascent solar market can grow. Dominion is now working to implement the Virginia Solar Pathways strategy, which includes establishing programs such as a community solar pilot program.
Based on experience and knowledge gained through the Virginia Solar Pathways Project, Dominion and its Core Advisory Team offered in the final strategy report a set of key recommendations for replicating the Virginia Solar Pathways strategy for sustainable deployment in other states: