Mennonites Pioneered in Virginia Solar

August 24, 2017 Eric

Solar power in Virginia — there’s a lot going on now, but what about several years ago?

 

According to Virginia Places, the very first commercial-sized solar project in the state was done at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg. The roof of the library was outfitted with over 300 panels in 2010.

 

One thing that’s interesting about this bit of history is the total electricity generated by that project, which is estimated at 104 kW.

 

Nowadays, with commercial designs, we’re just as likely to talk in megawatts. For example, contrast that 104 kW with the output of solar farms being built by Amazon in Accomack County and other areas of the state. Accomack County’s site alone is estimated to generate 80 megawatts of electricity!

The change, which has happened in so short a time, is kind of like the memory expansion of consumer electronics. Not too many years ago, people were used to talking in kilobytes — then came megabytes and eventually gigabytes. The same thing is in play with solar — companies are scaling up, figuring out how to achieve better and bigger and more efficient solar systems.

 

At the same time, the smaller projects are still in great demand. Many small business owners and homeowners want to benefit from the same green energy revolution that’s driving big retailers like Amazon and utilities like Dominion and Appalachian Power. But how do they do it?

 

Developing a successful solar project means looking at a particular site, and evaluating lighting and other factors. It means doing the research on cost and efficiency and figuring out whether grant money is available from places like the USDA to help fund the project. It means looking at local tax incentives and other bonuses when it comes to setting up working solar designs. There’s also the need to accommodate special property needs – for example, in agriculture, elevating solar panels to allow livestock grazing below – or, in some other commercial locations, co-locating solar panels with vehicle parking spaces.

 

At Sun Day Solar, we have a great track record helping clients in Charlottesville, Virginia area to get set up with the green energy that they need. Ask us about roof-mounted or ground-mounted designs and how to plan for a particular property. We can help provide counsel on REAP grants and more. Talk to us about a plan to go green and participate in something that is becoming a big part of Virginia’s state economy.