Virginia lawmakers embrace solar

The Commonwealth of Virginia has passed a number of bills in its latest session to encourage solar in the U.S. state, according to a report today on the website of the Richmond Times-Dispatch newspaper.

The state legislature listened to the public outcry against a number of bills attempting to thwart the Clean Power Plan launched by the federal government’s environmental protection authority and instead embraced a number of solar initiatives, according to the report.

Pro-solar bills included a motion to double non-residential net metering to 1 MW and the establishment of the Virginia Solar Energy Development Authority to help utilities and relevant agencies develop 400 MW of solar projects by 2020.

State lawmakers also empowered local authorities to help finance clean energy and energy efficiency for businesses and to adjust tax rates on the hardware used in renewable power generation.

According to the report, by Michael Town, executive director of the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, the state legislature is expected to approve joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative program to lower carbon emissions and combat climate change, in its next session. A bipartisan motion to join the initiative fell short of the majority required in the present session.