SolarizeRVA Campaign Gathers to Promote Region’s Clean Energy Momentum and Residential Solar Accessibility (Press Release)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 22, 2021
Stacy Mitchell, Director of Communications & Outreach
SolarizeRVA Campaign Gathers to Promote Region’s Clean Energy Momentum and Residential Solar Accessibility
(Richmond, VA) In partnership with Henrico County and the City of Richmond, Viridiant hosted a collaborative SolarizeRVA awareness event in celebration of the Summer Solstice on June 21, 2021. The event was attended by members of local and state government, nonprofit, higher education, faith, and solar organizations.
SolarizeRVA is a public education campaign to help Richmond-area residents understand the costs and benefits of solar power systems for their homes. Local non-profit Viridiant leads this effort to engage residents who have questions about the value, technology, and logistics of home solar arrays and to connect them with vetted local contractors for bids. Over the long term, SolarizeRVA aims to bring 1,000 solar roofs to the Richmond Region, reduce dependency on nonrenewable resources, and provide real savings for area residents. Solar energy saves money and reduces energy dependency, and the switch is more appealing than ever, as the federal tax credit of 26% is set to go down at the end of 2022.
Viridiant was joined by industry leaders for the speaking program to discuss solar milestones and goals in our communities.
KC Bleile, Viridiant’s Executive Director, highlighted Viridiant’s merger with Richmond Region Energy Alliance (RREA) in April 2020 to develop the Community Energy Services Division under the Viridiant name. “What we love about the SolarizeRVA campaign is the community aspect, and building partnerships with the City of Richmond and Henrico County has been vital to its success. The SolarizeRVA campaign, home energy audits and community education campaigns are how we are helping Virginian’s reduce their dependency on common energy commodities.” Andrew Grigsby, Energy Services Director with Viridiant and former RREA Executive Director shared, “There is so much opportunity to save money and reduce your carbon footprint and as Viridiant is built on the foundation of building science, the new division is focused on bringing that expertise to the community.”
Alicia Zatcoff, Sustainability Manager for the City of Richmond, shared the city’s recently recognized SolSmart GOLD designation. Richmond is one of only four localities in Virginia that have received the GOLD level designation from SolSmart, a national program that assists and recognizes localities that foster the growth of strong solar markets in their communities by reducing barriers to going solar. The city received the GOLD designation after the Office of Sustainability worked with the Permits & Inspections Division of the Planning Department to verify that permits for small residential rooftop solar PV systems can be processed in three days.
“We are excited about the transition to a more clean energy source for our buildings,” shared Carrie Webster, Energy Manager for Henrico County, “We want to make this more accessible to Henrico’s residents. SolarizeRVA is a trusted way to get started.” The Henrico County Energy Management program works to reduce energy use and cost in government, public schools, and public utilities operations for both economic and environmental benefit. The county has recently completed its first rooftop solar systems and has several more projects planned for municipal buildings and schools.
Reverend Dr. Faith Harris, VUU Professor and Co-Director of Virginia Interfaith Power and Light, and Kidest Gebre, Energy Lead with Virginia Interfaith Power and Light, discussed their environmental justice goals. Dr. Harris noted, “We all have a concern for the people on this earth and finding ways we can share and make it more sustainable for us all.” The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy is Virginia’s oldest faith-based advocacy group. A nonpartisan coalition of 750 faith communities, VAIPL advocates economic, racial, social, and environmental justice through education, prayer, and action.
Wendy Fewster, Climate Action Coordinator with the City of Richmond and 2014 SolarizeRVA participant, emphasized the SolarizeRVA program is the way to “have someone hold your hand and take you through the process” of your solar journey. With her solar array on display in full sunlight during the event, attendees were able to see firsthand what a home solar array looks like.
Learn more about SolarizeRVA at www.viridiant.org/solar.