Solar Resources

Getting Started with Solar

SolSmart-Logo_Gold_color.web.printWelcome to the NVRC’s solar resource webpage. NVRC is seeking ways to enhance the amount of solar energy installed in the region. For more information about the basics of solar energy, your solar options, and questions to ask solar professionals, read the Residential Consumer Guide to Solar Power and visit the Department of Energy’s Homeowner’s Guide to Going Solar.

Resources for Local Governments

Best Practices in Solar Planning and Zoning SolSmart Webinar – recording and slides

Best Practices for Solar PV Permitting and Inspection SolSmart Workshop

Session 1, Permitting I

Session 2, Permitting II

Session 3, Inspection

The Model Inspection checklist for Residential Rooftop PV from the International Renewable Energy Council (IREC) serves as a best practice guide to inform and improve the inspection process for local governments. It is recommended the member local governments review the checklist to educate inspectors on the latest code requirements and/or adopt the checklist in order to improve field inspection consistency.

Solar Benefits

Solar energy uses a renewable energy source – the sun – and provides many benefits for individuals and the community. It improves environmental quality by reducing carbon emissions and air pollution, supports local solar companies in Virginia, saves money on energy costs as the price continues to drop from increasing demand and technological developments, and improves electric grid resilience during peak demand and other stresses to the system.

What is your solar potential? 

You can get a birds-eye view of your home or business by utilizing the Commission's unique tool for the region, the NoVA Solar Map. Utilizing the map you will get an estimate as to the size of a solar array that can fit on your house or building. Nothing takes the place of an on-site inspection, but this is a good place to start.

You can also estimate the performance of potential PV projects using the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s PVWatts Calculator.

Finding a Contractor and Going Solar

Find a solar contractor (or two) to assess your home for solar energy and provide a bid. Certified practitioners can be found through NABCEP.

Choosing a Solar Installer – an informative short video from the GW Solar Institute explaining the questions to ask and research to conduct prior to going solar.

Consumer Solar Checklist - a checklist for residential consumers considering solar energy from IREC, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council.

Clean Energy Consumer Bill of Rights – ensuring a positive consumer experience by addressing important issues from IREC, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council.

Solar Customer Resource Portal

Financing, Incentives, and Tax Exemptions

Typically solar installations are paid for through loans or cash, with Federal and State incentives available.

A Homeowner’s Guide to Solar Financing – learn about different financing options from CESA, the Clean Energy States Alliance.

Rooftop Solar Financing 101 – an informative short video from the GW Solar Institute explaining different solar financing options.

Solar Rights and Procedures

Read the Virginia Solar Easements Act to understand the process and some guidelines for obtaining an easement.

Read the Covenants regarding solar power to understand the limits on community associations to prohibit the installation of solar power.

More Useful Solar Information

Learn more about Solar from the Maryland-DC-Delaware-Virginia Solar Energy Industries Association (MDV-SEIA).

Find a Solar Professional from MDV-SEIA’s directory.

State of Virginia Division of EnergyEnergy Incentives.