The movement of schools in Virginia going solar is growing. In the past six years, the amount of solar installed on schools has grown over a hundredfold. In our recent national report on solar schools, Virginia ranked 8th in the nation for the amount of solar installed on K-12 schools.
Despite this progress, only 3% of Virginia’s schools have gone solar and not all communities have equal access to the opportunity. We want to ensure that all schools can access the benefits of going solar, including reduced energy bills, enhanced STEM education, workforce development, and healthier communities. Let’s get to work on sharing the benefits of solar for all schools in the Commonwealth.
Report on Solar Schools in VA
Powering a Brighter Future in Virginia
Generation180’s report (updated in January 2020) shows how installation of solar at schools in Virginia has exploded thanks to a state policy that enabled schools to go solar without paying any upfront capital costs. Read the report to find success stories and to learn about the policies that would provide access to solar for schools statewide.
Remove Solar Barriers in Southwest Virginia
Appalachian Power has placed unfair and unnecessary limits on solar energy for school districts and local governments in Southwest Virginia. Your support is needed to ensure that these communities have access to solar energy in order to reduce electric bills, save taxpayer dollars, and support local energy jobs.
TAKE ACTION TODAY:
• Virginia: The General Assembly is moving forward with bills that would open up access to needed solar financing for schools and municipalities in Southwest VA. Companion bills HB 2034 AND SB 1420 both passed unanimously. Thank your state legislators for supporting access to solar energy in southwest Virginia.
• Southwest Virginia: Cities, counties, and school districts in Appalachian Power territory have an opportunity now to negotiate a new contract with the utility and gain fair access to solar. Let your local leaders know that you want the cost-savings and job creation that solar can bring to your community.
You can also encourage your local officials to pass a resolution in support of equal access to solar. Click here to see the resolutions passed by Dickenson County Public Schools, Wise County Public Schools, Scott County Public Schools, and Tazewell County Schools. Contact Austin Counts (email@example.com) to learn more.
Learn more about the issue
- “Expanding Access to Solar on Public Buildings in Southwest Virginia”: Issue summary created by Generation180, Appalachian Voices, and Solar United Neighbors
- “Large-Scale Solar Development: A Playbook for Southwest Virginia”: Introductory guide for local governments to facilitate large-scale solar projects in Southwest Virginia created by The Solar Workgroup and the Solar Foundation.
- Power for the People VA: “It’s Time for APCo to Stop Throttling Solar on Schools and Governments” – February 5, 2021
- Virginia Mercury: “Law aiming to help schools and local governments access solar sails through House” – January 26, 2021
- Energy News Network: “Appalachian schools seek solar reforms as region renegotiates utility contract” – October 26, 2020
- Radio IQ WVTF: “VA Could Soon See More Solar” – October 20, 2020
- Appalachian Voices Press Release: “Southwest Virginia schools, local governments urge fair access to solar” – October 15, 2020
- Roanoke Times: “Solar energy can save taxpayer dollars at the local level”, Column by Senator John Edwards – October 14, 2020
- Virginia Mercury: “Lawmakers expanded school districts’ ability to go solar. But in Southwest Virginia, a utility contract is getting in the way.” – September 29, 2020
- Broken Ground Podcast, Episode: “Riding the solar coaster”, Interview with solar advocates at Dickenson County Public Schools
Spotlight on Solar Schools in Virginia
Solar Power World: “BrightSuite Solar, Sun Tribe installing solar systems at 21 Virginia schools” – December 11, 2020
Richmond Times-Dispatch: “Catholic Diocese of Richmond undertaking solar energy projects at schools and churches” – November 27, 2020
Virginian-Pilot: “Hampton Roads public schools eye solar arrays, mirroring a statewide trend” – August 19, 2020
CleanTechnica: “Virginia School District Going Solar in a Big Way” – June 29, 2020
Staunton News Leader: “More solar power coming to Augusta County Public Schools” – May 7, 2020