Gov. Terry McAuliffe and other state leaders marked Earth Day on Wednesday by signing into law six measures designed to help advance solar energy and energy efficiency in the state and extend a tax credit for green jobs.
The legislation was touted by the governor's office as bipartisan initiatives that will "significantly expand the growth of clean energy jobs in Virginia."
"Building a new Virginia economy is my top priority as governor," McAuliffe said in a statement. "And the emerging clean energy jobs sector provides a tremendous opportunity for economic growth and diversification."
The measures support solar energy by creating the Virginia Solar Development Authority, authorizing cost recovery for building or buying utility-scale solar facilities and doubling the allowable generation capacity of a solar net energy metering facility.
They promote energy efficiency by expanding the loan program that helps fund energy efficiency projects on commercial buildings and clarifying how costs are evaluated to increase approval of energy efficiency programs.
They also extend for three more years the $500 income tax credit for each green job created that pays an annual salary of $50,000 or more. The tax credit would have expired this year.
All the measures are part of what McAuliffe has called a "new Virginia economy" that must rely less on federal spending in light of budget cuts and Congress' mandatory sequestration and turn instead to technology, bio-science and energy diversity to create good-paying jobs.
McAuliffe signed the measures in a ceremony at Capital One's Meadowville Technology Park in Chester.
Afterward, Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones said the energy initiatives will help provide Virginians "good jobs and good wages."
Dietrich can be reached by phone at 757-247-7892.