The Arlington County Board has approved a partnership with Dominion Energy Virginia to purchase power from a solar farm in southern Virginia.
The project goes beyond the County’s adopted Community Energy Plan goal of having at least 50 percent of electricity for County operations come from renewable sources by 2022.
The facility is expected to generate about 79,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per year for Arlington County’s government operations. That is more than 80 percent of the electricity used annually for all County buildings, streetlights, traffic signals, water pumping and wastewater treatment. “This is a groundbreaking partnership for the County,” said County Board Chair Libby Garvey. “It will take us a long way toward our goal of 100 percent use of renewable sources for all electricity used in government operations by 2025.”
Arlington County is the first locality in the Commonwealth to enter into a power purchase agreement of this scale for off-site solar energy with an investor-owned utility company.
“Dominion Energy is committed to lowering carbon emissions and helping our customers do the same,” said Emil Avram, vice president of business development, Dominion Energy. “We’re proud to be a trusted energy partner with Arlington County and help support their renewable energy needs.”
The County Board voted unanimously to approve the partnership at the Jan. 28, 2020 Board Meeting. See details in the board report (scroll to Item 43).
Agreement expected to be cost neutral
The agreement will not require any capital funding or upfront costs from the County. The solar farm will generate electricity that Dominion sells into the wholesale electric grid at market rates. The price for the delivered energy and renewable attributes will be the difference between the wholesale power price and the contract fixed price.
For the first year, the net credit or cost will be estimated based on price forecasts and estimates of electricity production. In each subsequent year, the credit or cost will be reset based on the previous year’s actual production and costs.
Arlington County currently pays Dominion Energy for electricity. Over time, this agreement is expected to be cost neutral. The project will have no impact on customer rates.
Details about the solar farm
Arlington County and Amazon are purchasing power from the same solar project. Arlington County is purchasing output from nearly one third of a solar farm; and, under a separate agreement, as majority buyer, Amazon is purchasing the remainder of the output from the same project. Arlington County appreciates Amazon and other stakeholders who share a common vision of achieving environmental sustainability in our community.
Dominion Energy will build the farm in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. Construction is expected to begin in 2020 with the facility becoming operational in 2022. The solar farm site is between Danville and Lynchburg and is currently primarily agricultural land.
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