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Henrico County Launches Solar Power For Its Own Buildings

Henrico County Solar Panels Installed on Libbie Mill Library Roof
Henrico County Solar Panels Installed on Libbie Mill Library Roof. (Photo: Carrie Webster)

Henrico County will launch its first foray into producing solar energy to help the environment and save money on its power bill. It is just the beginning of a potentially powerful electrical generating capacity.

Henrico County government has about 300 buildings that cost 20 million a year in energy. 

Beginning next month, two of them will be generating their own power.

"We are working on our first two rooftop solar voltaic projects," said Carrie Webster, Henrico’s Energy Manager. "And they are being installed now, as we speak. The first one is on our Libbie Mill Library and the second is on our new mental health East Center."

The Libbie Mill panels will offset about a quarter of the building’s use, panels at mental health might do 100%.

"So it’s a savings right from the start, but there is very little capital investment."

The county gets the panels at no costs through a power purchase agreement, in this case with Sun Tribe Solar which owns and operates them and sells electricity to the county at a reduced rate.

"And they are responsible for the long-term maintenance of the system."

Henrico’s energy management program began in 2003, monitoring its use, launching conservation projects, upgrading existing equipment, and now, generating its own power.

"It’s a win-win.  We get to save money on our energy utility bills, we get to transition to renewable energy which has less of an impact on the environment  and we don’t have to pay for the systems up front and we save money in the long run."

If it works well, they will build more.


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