This past week Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) announced two new solar projects in the state as he updated the state’s 2014 Energy Plan. The new installations include a 20-megawatt solar farm and installations at six schools.
Yesterday (Oct. 20) McAuliffe unveiled the new energy plan update, “Energy in the New Virginia Economy,” during a ribbon cutting of the new solar installation at Monticello High School in Albemarle County. It’s one of six installations at Albemarle County public schools that together total 1.1 megawatts of solar generating power.
“Today’s installation is the perfect venue to formally unveil an update on the progress we are making toward ensuring Virginia is a leader in the global energy economy,” McAuliffe said at the event. “The clean energy sector has been a central part of our efforts to build a new Virginia economy and that effort has paid off as revenue in the sector has grown four-fold to $2 billion. The Albemarle County Public Schools project embodies the countless benefits of growing the clean industry such as lower energy bills and carbon emissions, more education for our students, and economic activity for our local businesses.”
A day earlier he announced the permitting of a 20-megawatt solar farm in New Kent County, which will provide enough electricity to power roughly 3,400 households in the state. “Solar energy is a central part of the comprehensive energy approach Virginia needs to keep costs low for businesses, families and taxpayers as we build a new Virginia economy,” McAuliffe said of the new permit. “The new solar facility in New Kent County is a significant step toward diversifying the region’s energy mix and demonstrates that Virginia is an ideal location for a thriving solar industry. We will continue to invest in energy infrastructure and support innovative approaches to bring low-cost, renewable energy to all corners of the Commonwealth.”
The governor’s office said the new solar farm is the second project by Virginia Solar to receive a permit by rule from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. Now that the 20-megawatt solar farm is permitted, construction is slated to begin in early 2017 and it could be online by the end of the year.
“We are very pleased and thankful to New Kent County and the Commonwealth of Virginia for supporting a 100 percent Virginia-owned and -operated utility-scale solar developer by approving our Correctional Solar project’s state permit,” said Matthew Meares of Virginia Solar. “This is the second of what we hope to be many such projects by Virginia Solar in the Commonwealth.”
The state is now moving quickly to install more solar power. The governor’s office said that by the end of 2016 it will have 188 megawatts of solar power installed. That’s “a tenfold increase since 2014,” the office said. The newly installed solar in the state includes an 80-megawatt solar farm in Accomack County for Amazon, which the office said is the largest solar project in the Mid-Atlantic.Tweet