Transmitting news and information about sustainable endeavors in Coastal Virginia and beyond. Updated Weekly.

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Follow the above links to view a selection of news by category. Embedded PDFs at the bottom of the page provide a look at recent news collections on a regional and broader scale. For the latest news and access to the entire collection, go to Pinterest.

DOE Solar Decathlon pic

DOE's Solar Decathlon Kicks Off in CA

10.10.15 - Student designed solar powered homes will be evaluated over the next 8 days in categories including affordability, engineering, and market appeal. The innovations include water saving technologies, new materials and building methods. You can follow #SD2015 on Twitter to take virtual tours of the team projects. 6 of the originally selected teams, including Stanford, Yale and Vanderbilt pulled out of the event citing cost issues.

Image: DOE Solar Decathlon



Tidewater Solar Announcements

A 1 MW project is planned at Chesapeake's Western Branch High School through Dominion's Solar Partnership Program. 3000 panels will be installed on the school rooftop and transfer energy to the grid. Through the Company's Solar for Schools initiative, 4 schools in the Commonwealth, including Virginia Beach's Landstown High School, were selected to receive a small 1-kilowatt PV system for learning purposes. ODU which already hosts a Dominon rooftop solar array received $40,000 grant to develop a microgrid. And the utility filed for approval from the SCC for three solar projects in Louisa, Powhatan and Isle of Wight counties totaling 56 MW of generating capacity.

Image: Dominion

azura wecAzura designd by Northwest Energy Innovations is currently connected to the grid and undergoing testing at the Navy's Wave Energy Test Site (WETS) in Kaneohe Bay on Oahu. View the device at work. Image: NEI

Virginia Joins Wave Energy Competition

With a purse of $2 million, a team from Virginia, Hampton based Advanced Ocean Energy @ Virginia Tech, has been selected as one of 20 teams from a field of 92 applicants to continue on in the Department of Energy’s Wave Energy Prize Challenge. 

The design-build-test competition was organized to spark innovation and pave the way to commercial development of wave energy conversion (WEC) devices. To reduce the costs associated with the nascent technology, teams are striving to build machines that double energy extraction.

The potential for wave energy along US coasts, where half the country’s population resides, is tremendous.  According to the DOE, 5% of the available resource could provide power to 5 million homes.  The field of participants will be narrowed to 10 in March 2016. Read more.

Image: Alstom
Offshore Wind Moving Forward ???

Under a lease approved by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy has been working with Dominion to design, develop and demonstrate a grid-connected, 12-megawatt (MW) offshore wind test facility. The project currently on hold while new bids are being solicited, is planned well out of view, some 25 miles offshore and will consist of two 6 MW Alstom turbines.

While this is BOEM's first executed wind energy research lease in federal waters, it will not be the first US deployment of ocean based wind turbines. Another project in state waters off of Rhode Island is now under construction. Deepwater Wind began installing five 6 MW Alstom turbines near Block Island this summer. The project is expected to be sending energy to the grid by the end of 2016.

amazon_solar_accomackImage: Community Energy Solar

80 MW Solar Farm Planned on Virginia's Eastern Shore

7.2.15 - A cluster of solar arrays sited around Accomack, VA and covering about 1,000 acres will together supply power to Amazon Web Services Data Centers in Northern Virginia. The developer, Community Energy Solar, expects to begin construction later this year. The system is scheduled to be online in 2016. Grid connection to the centers are being provided via Delmarva Power and Light and PJM.


FREE Solar Ready Vets Training

Training programs have been scheduled at TCC for tranistioning vets courtesy of the Department of Energy. Three intensive 6 week programs are currently being offered. Courses run 6 July to 14 August; 24 August to 2 October and 13 October to 20 November.

See the DOE Flyer for eligibility requirements and application information.

Read more about the program in Sunny Days Ahead for Transitioning Vets

Initiatives Inspire Energy Transformation

5.25.15 - Clean energy and climate activists are not just taking to the streets: They're launching epic initiatives and pulling off impressive feats. The ripple effect of the global wave of activism is even being felt in Tidewater.

Steve Posselt, a kayaktivist from down under is currently paddling up the East Coast to garner public support for climate talks late this year in Paris. His route which covers waterways in three continents brought him to Lynnhaven Inlet in Virginia Beach where he toured the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Brock Environmental Center. Posselt reckons he's covered over 2000 miles to date.

Read about Posselt and more amazing campaigns here.


Solar Panel Manufacturer Coming to Virginia

3.16.15 - Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced today that 510nano, a developer of renewable energy projects and technologies, will invest $11 million to relocate its headquarters and establish a manufacturing operation in Greensville County. The company will construct a 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility for the production of solar panels in Greensville County Industrial Park. The project will create 113 new jobs. More Info

 To get a grasp of the size of the project, check out this youtube of Apple's 20 MW plant in Maiden, NC.

1.20.15 - Dominion Plans its First Utility Scale Solar Project in the Commonwealth

In the last couple of years Dominion has purchased large solar arrays in several states while promoting smaller commercial projects within Virginia. It is long-awaited news that today the company filed an SCC application for a 20 MW array in Fauquier County, VA. The Remington Solar Facility will consist of 9,000 panels and cover 125 acres of company land at the Remington Power Station.

According to company chairman and chief executive officer, Thomas F. Farrell II, "renewable energy will play an increasingly important role in Virginia's future." Completion of the farm is expected by October 2016. Read More.

CBF_Brock_Env_CtrLarger View

Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Brock Environmental Center is Energy Independent

Located on the Lynnhaven River in Virginia Beach, the Hampton Roads HQ for CBFi s open. Powered by a rooftop solar array and two 10 kW wind turbines, it is producing more energy than is consumed on an annual basis. Excess energy will be exported to the grid. To get an idea of energy production and consumpton at the facility at any given time, you can view the building energy dashboard here. Tours of the Center can also be scheduled.

Transforming Retired Landfills and Hazardous Sites

Landfill and superfund sites are being repurposed to produce clean energy. Read more about the Virginia Veterans Administration array in the Winter edition and more in the Waste as a Resource post in the Features section.

Post on the 2013 Hampton Roads Solar Home Tour, which featured Zenman Energy of Norfolk. The non-profit is developing an affordable and scalable solar concentrating steam generator to provide low cost electricity.



VA SUN is a citizens network of solar supporters in Virginia and supports a community listserve open to any individual or business interested in supporting solar in the state.

The listserve includes people who have gone solar, want to go solar, and people who work on solar installations or solar policy. It is not a place for polemical arguments nor advertising, but a place for practical advice on how to go solar. It's also a way to keep track of local developments around solar, including pending laws, incentives, and changes in policy.

To join the listserve, visit: http://bitly.com/VA_SUN_SignUp

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