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(Fairfax, VA) The numbers are in and the growth of solar in Northern Virginia from 2017 to 2018 can be described in one word – phenomenal.
The number of solar arrays increased by more than 80% and the kW of the systems grew by 90%. According to the EPA’s greenhouse gas calculator, the solar arrays save 16,913 tons of CO2 emissions on an annual basis which is the equivalent to 16,773,209 pounds of coal being burned annually or 1.9 billion smartphones being charged.
Solar Market Remains Vibrant
With the price of solar at all-time lows and the Federal Investment Tax credit at 30% for calendar year 2019 the solar market remains vibrant in the Region. Northern Virginia’s local governments have promoted solar through the Northern Virginia Regional Commission’s (NVRC) Solarize NoVA program (www.solarizenova.org) and have also taken steps to improve permitting and inspection processes to simplify the process for homeowners and solar contractors. Six of the nine permitting localities in the Region have already achieved SolSmart designation with a sixth local government moving through the process. The Northern Virginia Regional Commission was recently designated SolSmart Gold in recognition of our achievements and commitment to solar energy. NVRC is the second region in the United States to achieve this designation.
SolSmart is a national designation program designed to recognize cities and counties that have taken key steps to address local barriers to solar energy and otherwise foster the growth of strong local solar markets. It is led by The Solar Foundation, the International City/County Management Association, and a team of national solar experts. SolSmart is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office.
Solarize NoVA Spring Campaign a Great Success
Solarize NoVA is a program that partners NVRC and its local governments with the not-for-profit organization, the Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP), the Piedmont Environmental Council and local solar installers. Through the power of bulk purchasing and pre-screened qualified, local solar installers the Solarize NoVA campaign offers consumers solar at below market prices. Over the past four years the Solarize NoVA campaign has resulted in contracts for more than 2.6 MW of solar with a contract value in excess of $7.6 million.
For our Spring 2019 campaign the Solarize NoVA program offered a solar array larger than 5 kW at $2.41 a watt. That is 18% less than the statewide average of $2.96 a watt. There is no obligation to participate in the Solarize NoVA program until the resident/business owner signs a contract with the installer. In addition to linking consumers with qualified, local installers the Solarize NoVA program maintains a solar map that allows consumers the opportunity to get a birds-eye view of the solar potential for their home or building. While nothing can take the place of an on-site inspection consumers can view their property at www.novasolarmap.com. The map calculates how large a solar array can fit on the roof, the projected dollar value of the electricity savings and the reduction in CO2 emissions.
2017 to 2018 Solar Growth
2017 # of Systems
2017 kW of Systems
2018 # of Systems
2018 kW of Systems
The Northern Virginia Regional Commission wishes to acknowledge the support of its local government partners, LEAP and the Piedmont Environmental Council for their support of the Solarize NoVA program. NVRC also wishes to thank the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments which aggregates the solar data for the entire greater metropolitan Washington area.