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Local schools selected to participate in Solar for Students program

Staff report • Mar 19, 2018 at 5:45 PM

A new educational program is on its way to several schools in Southwest Virginia.

Legislators announced on Friday an educational partnership between Dominion Energy’s Solar for Students program and school districts in the coalfield region.

The program will serve students in Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell and Wise counties and the city of Norton.

About the program

The Solar for Students program will provide students the chance to observe and learn firsthand about harnessing solar energy from a solar array.

Each year, participating public schools and educational organizations receive educational materials, training for educators and a 1.2 kilowatt solar system that converts sunlight into electric power.

The program also offers the capability to connect students in Southwest Virginia to all other participating schools in the commonwealth. Students will be able to track the generation of electric power by viewing their data online and can challenge other participating schools in other regions.

Through this online platform, students will have the opportunity to benefit from a shared experience and learning from one another through their own observations.

“This program provides an exciting opportunity for our kids and teachers to connect and learn through energy technology,” said Delegate Terry Kilgore. “We look forward to seeing the positive impact this educational program has on our students and broader conversations about economic and workforce development in Southwest Virginia.”

The NEED Project (National Energy Education Development) will administer the educational program, while Sigora Solar, a Virginia-based company, will coordinate installation of the equipment and provide technical support.

Selected schools

The site selection process involved each school district submitting a list of potential locations for consideration.

Based on review of those sites to determine which schools met specific technical and logistical criteria, the program and its partners selected the following sites:

• Scott County: Twin Springs High School

• Wise County: Union Elementary School

• Norton: John I. Burton High School

• Lee County: Lee County Career and Technical Center

Over the coming months, the program and its partners will work with each school district to begin the process of installing equipment and implementing the curriculum.

Since 2015, Dominion Energy’s Solar for Students program has been implemented in 10 locations throughout the commonwealth. This expansion into Southwest Virginia will nearly double the size of the program’s footprint.

“We’re excited to be part of this opportunity for our students,” said Sen. Bill Carrico. “As we continue to emphasize economic and workforce development in the region, it’s critically important that we find new ways to engage our students early. This program is an opportunity to do that and we look forward to seeing this program get off the ground.”

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