After deciding earlier this summer on a policy to continue crediting customerswho install solar panels, the members of the Harrisonburg Electric Commission made it clear that their conversation about solar energy’s future in Harrisonburg wasn’t done — but was just starting.
The Harrisonburg Electric Commission could decide as early as next month whether to cut its rates by 3 percent, potentially saving the average residential customers more than $30 a year on their electricity bills.
It’s not often that the Harrisonburg Electric Commission’s monthly meeting attracts a standing-room-only crowd. Yet, Tuesday morning, more than 20 people crammed into the small conference room at the utility’s Operations Center on North Liberty Street. Some were solar installers, dressed in bright-colored t-shirts with their employers’ logo emblazoned on them. Others were solar advocates or homeowners with arrays on their houses.
A high-profile solar project put forth by the Harrisonburg City Public Schools (HCPS) is one step closer to being finalized after a months-long, three-way dance between the school board, solar developer Secure Futures, and the Harrisonburg Electric Commission (HEC).
With solar energy growing quickly in the city (and soon to take another leap, if the school board has its way), an effort is underway to document and map every installation in the city. The 2019 Harrisonburg Solar Census launched on March 30 and will make the information it gathers accessible to the public.