By Karen Schaufeld
Congratulations to California for setting a record for powering 6 million homes with solar in just one day! Their previous record was set in May of this year, but thanks to this summer’s coast-to-coast high temperatures, their new record is 8,030 megawatts. According to San Francisco Gate, California only included large solar plants in this tally. An additional 537,637 smaller solar panel arrays installed on private homes and business’ rooftops across the state were not counted in this tally.
Meanwhile, Virginia is ranked 39th in solar capacity in the United States. Even with Dominion’s recent pledge of 400mw of solar capacity by 2020, we won’t be anywhere near the production that California is realizing.
And even though California’s climate is often used to discredit solar capacity on the East Coast, our neighbor to the south, North Carolina, shares a similar climate and is ranked 3rd in the United States in terms of solar energy production. In fact, North Carolina already has 100 times more the solar capacity than Virginia does.
Our hope is that legislators this next session will support significant legislation to allow Virginia to participate in the solar revolution. Virginia should be allowed to experience the benefits of solar, including:
- reducing reliance on the traditional energy grid, which reduces the risk of widespread failure in the event of a disruption;
- protecting against rising energy costs;
- protecting and increasing property values;
- boosting U.S. energy independence; and
- creating jobs and stimulating the Virginia economy.
During peak energy demand, utilities in the Commonwealth actually purchase electricity from out-of-state sources, and I believe it is time for that to change. Visit our Take Action page to send a letter showing your support for a greater renewable energy mix in Virginia.