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November 6, 2017 · OPINION

Responding to Dominion position on solar power

Rooftop solar panels “can build a reliable, resilient energy system that benefits local homeowners and businesses while also creating jobs.”
By Elizabeth Melson

I appreciate you bringing solar energy to the forefront by publishing the October 26 opinion piece, “Dominion Energy expands commitment to solar power” by Dominion Energy’s Paul Koonce. However, his perspective on Dominion’s solar commitment is misleading.

While Mr. Koonce paints a rosy picture of his company’s responsiveness to customer solar demands, in reality Dominion is one of the strongest and most effective forces working to limit solar options for their Virginia customers. As Virginia’s single largest political donor, Dominion has successfully lobbied to impose an arbitrary 1 percent limit on customer-owned “rooftop” solar, blocked the ability of homeowners to lease solar panels, and imposed bogus “standby charges” and other red tape to make solar less economical for their customers.

Does that sound like a company working to make solar work for all customers, or one trying to protect its lucrative monopoly?

Dominion’s support for solar only extends to programs and initiatives that it can control and from which it directly benefits. Rooftop solar directs benefits and control back to local communities — not just a monopoly utility. This is why Dominion works hard to discourage homeowners from going solar.

Our many local farmers’ markets, breweries and wineries here in Fauquier County are a testament to that fact that Virginians like the choice to keep things local. If we can now generate energy in our own backyards with solar panels — while at the same time creating jobs and lowering electric bills — shouldn’t we have more options to do so? Should a monopoly be given the right to limit our choices?

As someone who is active in the local food economy, I’ve seen the benefits of a democratized, local food system that puts local farmers and merchants back to work while utilizing local resources and decision making. With rooftop solar, we have a tremendous opportunity to do the same thing for our energy economy. We can build a reliable, resilient energy system that benefits local homeowners and businesses while also creating jobs. Or we can passively stand by, letting a monopoly limit our energy choices and the potential benefits to local communities.

Whose side do you want to be on?

The writer is the founder of Farm-to-Table Solutions.
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Jim Griffin · November 9, 2017 at 3:31 pm
Repeating a study performed by a nuclear advocacy group? You sure are digging deep to condemn free natural energy from the sun:

What's your motive? More nuclear? More fossil fuels?
Observer · November 9, 2017 at 11:37 am
Jim Griffin · November 8, 2017 at 6:19 pm
Apparently, observer's comment -- "takes more energy to make than it will produce in its life" -- was true at the beginning of the technology and reverses over time, producing net gains:

Observer · November 7, 2017 at 3:58 pm
Solar power is very dirty - in other places than yours. While you might feel all warm and fuzzy for using solar panels, there is a dirt and poisonous waste created and generated when panels are made and when they are decomissioned. Also solar panel takes more energy to make than it will produce in its life. If you care about nature, you will never go solar.
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