Virginia’s Solar Power Capacity Could Triple in 5 Years
Virginia’s capacity to generate solar electricity is expected to triple over the next five years, according to a report from the Solar Energy Industries Association, meaning that enough solar energy may be generated in the near future to power upward of 200,000 homes in the state. The solar industry has been growing nationwide. But it still only accounts for about 2 percent of the nation’s capacity to generate electricity. In Virginia, that figure is half a percent. Several reasons account for the growth. The cost of installation has been falling, and the demand for green energy has been soaring. Owners of farmland are also finding that leasing their land for power generation is more profitable than growing traditional crops.
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Carilion New River Valley Medical Center Flips Switch on Solar Panels to Power Hospital
The Carilion New River Valley Medical Center is making healthcare more affordable with a solar energy. A nanogrid of nearly 4,000 solar panels now will generate nearly 20 percent of the hospital’s annual energy needs. That means they’re not only reducing their carbon footprint, but also saving money. “Over the course of 20 years, we are expecting to save about $1.5 million,” Scott Blankenship, Carilion director of facility operations, said. This will potentially save patients money down the line. “As expensive as health care is, anything that we can do to keep our costs down can be passed along to our patients ultimately,” Bill Flattery, CEO of Carilion New River Valley Medical Center and vice president of Carilion’s western region operations, said.
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Tech Companies Pushing for Solar Energy Across America
Since 2008, renewable energy has gone from 9% to 18% of the U.S. energy mix, according to the Business Council for Sustainable Energy. A big part of that shift stems from tech companies’ rapid buildout of cloud storage centers and a move to burnish their public image by vowing they’ll run these centers on sources like wind and solar. Last year, the top four corporate users of renewable energy in the world were Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Google announced this month that as of 2017, all its facilities and data centers were running on 100% renewable electricity. Rather than lose these deep-pocketed customers, the nation’s power companies are changing policies and crafting deals that meet increased demands for renewable energy, in some cases shifting away from traditional electricity supplies like coal and natural gas.
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