Commonwealth of Virginia: Leading the Way with Clean Energy

CASE STUDIESGovernment

Project Overview

Through both policy and action, the Commonwealth of Virginia has been a leader in making renewable energy a reality. While it made national news for the passage of the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA), which requires the Commonwealth to be powered by 100% renewable energy by 2050, state government had already shown a commitment to building a brighter future for its citizens. That’s why it worked with Sun Tribe to build on-site solar at the Virginia Department of Forestry headquarters in Charlottesville, the Virginia Public Safety Training Center in Hanover, and the Haynesville Correctional Center on Virginia’s Northern Neck. These projects and their 1.3 MW of clean energy will provide essential cost savings and environmental benefits for the next generation of Virginians.

Ralph Northam

Governor, Commonwealth of Virginia

“The Virginia Department of Forestry project is truly an innovative model that will enable our state agencies to produce clean energy on-site while reducing their utility bills. As the demand for renewable energy increases, investments like this are important for our Commonwealth because they spur economic development and help to expand job opportunities in the fast-growing solar industry.”

Haynesville Correctional Facility Solar Project - Sun Tribe

Project Highlights

Sun Tribe Solar - A Leader in Virginia Solar

100% CLEAN

Virginia’s commitment to using renewable energy by 2050

Sun Tribe Solar - A Leader in Virginia Solar

1.3MW

Solar that will keep the lights on and help state agencies throughout Virginia save money

Sun Tribe Solar - A Leader in Virginia Solar

75% VIRGINIA-BASED

The percent of power that must be sourced within the state by 2025

More Details

Benefitting the Whole Community

Throughout the country, governments at the state and local level are taking steps to build more resilient communities in the face of climate change and thinking comprehensively about how to make renewable energy goals a reality. In Virginia, that work has been led by forward-thinking state agencies collaborating closely with the Governor to meet a mandate that more of Virginia’s state-owned buildings would be powered by renewables. Thanks to a process spearheaded by the Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy, Sun Tribe was chosen as the partner to ensure solar was safely and efficiently installed on prominent government buildings throughout the Commonwealth.

These projects helped show what was possible – a demonstration which highlighted the importance of Virginia’s shift to a 21st century advanced energy economy, which was codified through the passage of the VCEA in 2020. In addition to creating a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and supporting traditionally disadvantaged, low-income, and vulnerable communities, the VCEA set a framework to ensure all communities can thrive. An important part of that framework was the expansion of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) program, which gives public sector entities like Henrico County Government and Middlesex County Public Schools a chance to follow the lead of state agencies and have their own communities see the benefits of solar.

Partnerships That Work

At Sun Tribe, we believe in building partnerships that work — cooperating closely with environmental groups, utilities, community leaders, local governments, and schools to ensure the benefits of the VCEA are shared by all of our neighborhoods. That’s why Sun Tribe is proud to the be the #1 provider of on-site public sector solar in Virginia. And it’s why projects like the one at the Department of Forestry (here in our hometown of Charlottesville) mean so much to us: because they help our community see that building a more resilient energy infrastructure can help bolster budgets, create jobs, and build a future in which we can all be proud.

In communities all across Virginia, solar is a chance for state agencies, school systems, and local governments to meet sustainability goals while bringing down their costs of energy and providing an educational resource for students and employees alike. Virginia’s State Forester, Rob Farrell, said it best: “Virginia Department of Forestry believes in leading by example, and we live this at our headquarters, the Garner Building in Charlottesville. Our grounds provide a classroom for teaching proper tree care, as well as providing wildlife habitat, pollinator gardens and a seedling nursery. Hosting this solar project is a natural extension of our commitment to sustainability, and we are proud to be a part of the governor’s solar initiative.”

Read more about the Virginia Clean Economy Act in the Virginia Mercury and in Vox and about Sun Tribe’s work with the Commonwealth of Virginia in the Augusta Free Press, WHSV, and Solar Industry Magazine.