In 2013, the Solar Energy Industries Association says installations were up 41% nationwide, with North Carolina ranking third for installed solar capacity and Maryland 16th, but neighboring Virginia was far down the list at number 26.
Thirty states, including West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, have land-based wind farms, but Virginia has none.
It’s no surprise that California and Arizona top the list of states installing solar power, but Virginia’s neighbors - Maryland and North Carolina - are in the top ten. Critics say Virginia is a “dark spot” on the map because government policies don’t promote green energy. Now, however, the state legislature has approved a bill that will bring down one barrier to solar power.
Five Virginia private liberal arts colleges have joined together to reduce their energy costs.
Hollins University along with Emory & Henry, Lynchburg, Randolph, and Sweet Briar Colleges are the first such institutions of higher education in Virginia to provide 100 percent renewable electricity to their campuses.
The energy is coming from landfills located around the Commonwealth. Ingenco captures landfill gas emissions and sends it to the schools. Emory & Henry spokesman Jesse Freedman says this will enable them to cut their carbon footprint by half.
Stories about political pressure on state universities to hold down tuition and some movement toward offshore wind energy development were among the most clicked this past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link on vpap.org.
VaNews is a free public service of the Virginia Public Access Project and can be found at vpap.org.