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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

7.6.15 - With a purse of $2 million, three teams from Virginia have entered the Department of Energy’s Wave Energy Prize Challenge.  The teams, all with ties to Virginia Tech, are competing in a pool of 92 applicants for up to 20 spots that will be announced in August.

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.  

Update: 8.15.16 - A team from Virginia, Hampton based Advanced Ocean Energy @ Virginia Tech, has been selected to continue on in the design/build competition. The field of participants will be narrowed to 10 in March 2016. Read more.

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.

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.


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


Public sentiment from the Yale Climate Opinion Maps

76% of Virginia adults support regulating CO2 as a pollutant, 79% support renewable energy research and 61% support requiring utilities to provide 20% of energy through renewable resources. Click on the map to go to the interactive site, where you can research opinion from the state, to congressional district and county level.

Read more about public sentiment in "Surge for Fossil Fuels Protests"


Solar Charging Picnic Table for W&M

5.4.15 - Recycled plastic picnic table with a solar umbrella will likely to located in front of Sadler Center. The panels will power LED lights for night time use and energize outlets for electrical and USB charging. The sustainibility project is being funded through green fees.

More Info

Image: William & Mary Rendering


Image: Alstom

Offshore Wind Moving Forward ???

3.24.15 - Wind turbines should be spinning off the Virginia coast as early as 2017. Under a lease just 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 site well out of view some 25 miles offshore will support two 6 MW Alstom turbines.

While this is BOEM's first executed wind energy research lease in federal waters, it is not likely to be the first US deployment of ocean based wind turbines. Another project in state waters off of Rhode Island has already received key approvals and financing. Deepwater Wind expects to begin construction of five 6 MW Alstom turbines near Block Island this summer.

Update 4.24.15 - North American Wind Powerreports that Dominion has put the demonstration project indefinitely on hold citing cost concerns.


Big Tobacco is Going Solar

3.18.15 - The 2.45 MW Philip Morris USA solar project is part of Dominion Virginia Power's Solar Partnership Program where Dominion leases space at commercial, industrial or public facilities for the installation of solar panels. The utility company said it is now installing about 8,000 ground-mounted solar panels on the property of tobacco company Philip Morris USA's Park 500 plant on Bermuda Hundred Road in Chesterfield County, Virginia. Source: Dom.com


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

Pictured above is the February 13 Graduating Class of Marines and Sailors of DOE's Reach for the Sun program - Image: SEI

Sunny Days Ahead for Transitioning Vets

2.17.15 - 20 marines just graduated from the first DoD solar training program offered to services members that will soon be transitioning into civilian employment. The "Reach for the Sun" program funded by the Department of Energy's Sunshot Initiative provided free training to applicants at Camp Pendleton in California. The program will also be replicated at Norfolk Naval Station and Fort Carson in Colorado.

Continue Reading

VA Governor Praises Dominion's Solar Plan: 400 MW Coming to the Commonwealth


2014 Post - Alternative Power Prospects Brighten in Virginia

2.5.15 - On the heels of announcing a major 20 MW project in the Commonwealth, highlighted below, Dominion has committed to building 400 MW of solar generating capacity in the state. All projects will be built in Virginia with the involvement of Virginia-based companies and are expected to be operational by 2020. Together, these solar facilities are anticipated to be capable of generating enough electricity at peak capacity to power 100,000 homes.

"If we are going to build a new Virginia economy, we must be leaders in the energy economy of the future," said Gov. Terry McAuliffe. "Dominion has shown a strong commitment to solar energy development, and I am proud to work with them to expand renewable generation in Virginia and diversify the Commonwealth's fuel mix."

 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.

Offshore Energy by the Numbers

1.14.15 - Oceana, an international ocean advocacy group released a new study reporting that "Offshore wind has the potential to create 1.5 times as many jobs in Virginia as offshore drilling." And unlike gas deposits, wind will continue to supply energy long into the future.

Press Release

Virginia Fact Sheet

Full Report


Buoy sited off the Virginia Coast will use lasers to measure wind speeds at high altitudes

Demonstration turbines planned for deployment in federal waters during 2017 will capture winds up to 600 feet above the sea surface. The buoy pictured, now moored approximately 23 miles from shore, is equipped with lasers to assess winds speeds at different altitudes. The information gathered over the next year is crucial for assessing the potential for large scale wind development and will provide data helpful to personnel involved in the deployment of the twin 6 MW test turbines. Learn more about the demonstration project. Read more about the Buoy.

Image: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory


Virginia Offshore Wind Demonstration Project

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has released an Environmental Assessment (EA) of the proposed Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Advancement Project. BOEM will hold an informational meeting Wednesday, December 17, 2014, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., at the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, 717 General Booth Boulevard, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23451.

Read more about the project.

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 CBF is set to open in Jan. 2015. Powered by a 38.8 kW rooftop solar array and two 10 kW wind turbines, it is expected to produce more energy than is consumed on an annual basis. Excess energy will be exported to the grid.

More Info


Dominion North Carolina Power Dedicates MicroGrid Research Project on July 25

The MicroGrid Research Project enables the Kitty Hawk regional office to generate some of its own on-site renewable energy.

With a battery backup system, the facility will be powered by four wind turbines capable of generating 13 kilowatts of electricity and a ground-mounted solar array that will generate an additional 6 kilowatts


Image: Dominion

Large Solar Array Dedication at Old Dominion University - Tuesday, July 8

7.7.14 - The 132 kW system going online tomorrow didn't cost the school a penny. Installed under Dominion's new "Solar Partnership" program, which involves a long term lease arrangement, the school will earn income by renting the recreation center rooftop. The system, including all the energy produced, is owned and maintained by Dominion. This is the second completed project in a program aiming for 30 MW of generation capacity. The company is looking to develop more Virginia rooftops. A quality roof with ample space and proximity to Dominion infrastructure is required. For more information on the project, see the Solar Partnership program website.

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.


Largest rooftop solar array in Virginia completed at the Canon facility in Gloucester

Read more about the project and alternative energy in Virginia at TidewaterCurrent.com

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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