On Tuesday, May 22, CVEC drew over 70 guests, from as far away as Washington DC, Atlanta, and Phoenix, to help celebrate the opening of two 5MW solar generation facilities. With weather forecasts promising thunderstorms, guests were pleasantly surprised with a sunny, clear sky that showed off the gleaming new solar panels in action.
Guests from the Fluvanna County Administration, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, (NRECA), McCarthy Building Companies (the contractor company responsible for the construction of both solar facilities), and Coronal Energy, owner and operator of both solar sites, mingled with CVEC staff and members of the Board of Directors, waiting for Governor Ralph Northam to arrive. Reporters from local newspapers and news channels moved through the gathering, adding to the excitement in the air.
As Governor Northam arrived, guests crowded to meet him, then took their seats as CVEC President and CEO, Gary Wood, rose to give the opening remarks. Welcoming guests and recognizing many of CVEC’s partners who have collaborated to make solar power a reality for CVEC’s members, Wood issued a special thank you to CVEC’s Board of Directors, stating, “These directors and the others on the Board encouraged the CVEC staff to find cost-effective renewable power options for our members, and when the opportunity arose, they had the courage and foresight to make a 25 year commitment that moved the project from a paper proposal to the project you see today.” After recognizing these directors by name, Wood welcomed Jonathan Baker, a member of the Coronal Energy executive team, to take the stage.
Baker’s remarks, highlighting the monumental milestone of completing the two solar facilities, were followed by remarks from CVEC’s Board Chairman H. T. Brown, Fluvanna Board of Supervisors Chair Mike Sheridan, NRECA Project Manager Debra Roepke, McCarthy Building Companies VP of Operations Mike Corso, and Kyle West, VP of Development at Coronal Energy. After these speakers, Governor Northam rose to make a few remarks, celebrating the introduction of renewable resources into Virginia’s energy portfolio.
Governor Northam then joined Wood in a symbolic gesture, welcoming solar energy to the state as they “flipped the switch” and illuminated CVEC’s sign at the Palmer solar site.
Afterwards, Northam remarked to NBC News reporters, "It's just a great day as we move toward renewable energy in Virginia and wean ourselves away from fossil fuels.”
Guests were then invited to tour the 21,700-panel solar facility, escorted by Coronal Energy engineer Jake Wyatt. After enjoying refreshments and pictures, guests dispersed, still under a sunny sky. The event was an enormous success and welcomes a bright future as solar power takes its place as a leading energy source in the electricity market.
CVEC’s partnership with Coronal Energy represents the construction of the largest solar project for an electric distribution cooperative in the state. With total production of 10 megawatts (MW) of energy, the solar sites will provide CVEC with enough energy to power 1,200 households annually. CVEC will provide 60% of this energy to members though its community solar program, Solar Share. Through Solar Share, residential members may purchase up to five 50-kilowatt-hour (kWh) blocks of solar energy, for a total of 250 kWh per household. The cost per 50 kWh block is $4.50, or $22.50 for the full 250 kWh. The subscription rate for this solar energy will be locked in for 25 years and will not be subject to rate increases during that time. Solar Share is an excellent option for members who occupy rental properties or otherwise are unable to install panels on their homes. There's no need to worry about putting holes in your roof, your home's orientation to the sun, or neighborhood covenants. It provides a no-contract, affordable, and maintenance-free option for clean, renewable energy.
Members have been quick to recognize the advantages of CVEC’s Solar Share program, and have already subscribed to 30% of the available shares. To participate in Solar Share and take your place in welcoming more solar energy in your power supply, visit CVEC's Community Solar page.