Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Community Solar project?
Community Solar is a solar power source shared by more than one property. It will allow members who cannot or prefer not to have solar installed on their roof/property the opportunity to participate in the benefits that solar systems offer. SVEC members will be able to participate by voluntarily enrolling once the project is complete.
Who is involved?
EDF Renewables Distributed Solutions, Inc., Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC), and Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative (SVEC). ODEC is SVEC’s power provider. EDF Renewables is working with ODEC to develop a portfolio of distributed solar projects across ODEC member service territories in Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware – there are currently a total of 9 projects being developed, designed and constructed in partnership with sister co-ops across the ODEC service territory. Randolf Solar Partners, LLC (an entity of EDF Renewables) will be located in Shenandoah County, and will be the first, and at this time only, Community Solar project within SVEC’s territory.
How will it work?
Community Solar farms will generate electricity at a remote location and the electricity credits generated will be passed through to the participants enrolled in this voluntary program. These credits will be equal to your share of the project. This specific project will generate enough electricity to power ~570 average homes each year.
When will Community Solar be available for SVEC members?
SVEC has identified a location in Shenandoah County to host the project. Once all necessary permits have been received, and the project is approved by the county, construction is estimated to take place for six to nine months. Our hope will be that SVEC can enroll interested members in mid-late 2021.
What is the current status of the project?
At a public hearing on October 1, 2020, the Shenandoah County Planning commission voted to recommend to the county’s Board of Supervisors the approval of a special-use permit filed by Randolf Solar Partners LLC (an entity of EDF Renewables). The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve the special use permit on October 27, 2020. Construction, pending additional site plan approval and permitting processes, is anticipated to begin in Q1 2021.
Where is the proposed location of the project?
The project will be located on approximately 32 acres at 332 Walker Road and 595 Georgetown Road in Mount Jackson, VA. It is adjacent to an existing SVEC substation.
Will this project raise our electric rates?
The project alone will not cause our members’ rates to increase. All interconnection related expenses, including line and/or substation upgrades will be paid for by Randolf Solar Partners, LLC. Our investment in the project is like any other capital expense, no different than replacing a bucket truck, for example. When developing rates to ensure that we are properly recovering costs, all capital expenditures are considered together. To properly recover costs, we cannot subsidize a given project for a member that would mean the difference has to be made up by another member. We must be fair and equitable across all of our member classes – from residents to industries. Community Solar accomplishes this by offering voluntary enrollment – we’ll be introducing a tariff specifically for those members wishing to participate in the program.
What happens at the end of the solar facility’s “life”?
The project is decommissioned and removed at the end of its 25-35 year useful life. The land may be returned to agricultural use at that time, at the landowner’s discretion. Decommissioning and removal is paid for by the project, not the landowner or the locality. As a condition of its Special Use Permit approval, prior to commencement of construction, EDF Renewables is required to provide a Decommissioning Plan to the county, which will include an estimate of the decommissioning costs, and shall be subject to the approval of the County Administrator.
Where can I stay up to date as more information develops?
Please visit this page (www.svec.coop/solar) for a list of frequently asked questions. As this project develops, SVEC will post the most current information at this location.