The Washington DC Council recently passed the Community Renewable Energy Act, updating the District’s net metering provisions and inter alia allowing residents to participate in community, or virtual, net metering schemes.

Under the Act, residents may now buy ownership in a “community energy generating facility” and receive credit on their electricity bill for electricity produced by their portion of the facility.

Such facilities may be up to 5 MW in capacity and are required to have at least two subscribers, with each subscription not less than 1 kW or more than 120% of the subscriber’s energy consumption over the previous 12 months.

Such facilities are likely to be ideal for utility customers who are unable to install solar at their residence due to shading, lease terms, or financial constraints. The option may also help DC towards its renewable portfolio standard, which requires 20% of its electricity to be generated from renewable sources by 2020, of which 2.5% must be solar.

At least 10 other U.S. states have some form of virtual net metering policy, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Rhode Island and Vermont.