Expand access to solar in SW Virginia


VIRGINIA: Thank your State Legislators

Solar can help localities save taxpayer money and create local jobs, particularly at a time when unemployment is high and government budgets are strained. However, communities in Southwest Virginia have been left behind the rest of the state at a time when they stand to benefit the most from affordable solar energy.

Until now, Appalachian Power has unfairly denied access to third-party power purchase agreements, a solar financing mechanism that would enable school districts and local governments to go solar and save on electric bills without paying upfront or maintenance costs. School districts in Dominion territory that have funded their solar projects this way anticipate energy cost savings of more than $4 million over 25 years. Southwest Virginia deserves equal access to solar and the opportunity to save taxpayer dollars, create local jobs, and produce their own energy.

Luckily, The General Assembly is moving forward with bills that open up access to needed solar financing for schools and municipalities in Southwest Virginia. Companion bills HB 2034 AND SB 1420 both passed unanimously, removing some of the roadblocks to solar access in SW VA. Contact your legislators to thank them for supporting access to solar energy in Southwest Virginia!

SW VIRGINIA: Speak Up to Appalachian Power

If your city or county is in Appalachian Power territory, use your voice to to ensure Appalachian Power allows existing solar contracts to move forward by removing unnecessary barriers to solar in your community. Speak up to help expand access to solar for local governments and schools in Southwest Virginia.


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 (austin@appvoices.org) to learn more.

Contact Appalachian Voices⟶

Learn More

Check out the resources created about solar in SW VA:

Explore the media coverage on this issue:

  • Power to 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

“Our local governments and schools should be able to benefit from the less expensive solar energy and save taxpayer dollars on electricity bills.” 

-Senator John Edwards, Patron of SB 1420  



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