HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Henrico County is going green. Not only is it good for Mother Nature but it’s also saving taxpayers some “green” too.
Solar panels are now soaking in the sunshine on top of two county buildings.
“We will start saving money right from day one,” said Henrico County’s Energy Manager, Carrie Webster.
Webster told 8News dozens of solar panels were installed on top of the Libbie Mill Library and the Mental Health East Clinic this fall. She says these buildings were great candidates for solar.
“It’s a little hard to believe, it sounds too good to be true,” said Webster. “But it’s definitely a win-win.”
A win win because the county didn’t have to pay a dime up front for the projects. The solar panels are owned and maintained by a solar company — Sun Tribe Solar.
According to Webster, the county simply signed a “power purchase agreement” to buy the power right back from the panels on its rooftops.
“Over the 25-year term of the agreement, the Libbie Mill Library system is estimated to save about $150,000,” said Webster.
That amount of money over 25 years might not sound like much but it adds up.
The county just announced four more buildings to receive solar installations over the next few years as well: The Public Safety Building, both new high schools, and a large addition at a Henrico elementary school.
Sun Tribe Solar tells 8News these four new solar sites will also provide learning opportunities for students in Henrico County.
“Henrico County is on the leading edge of a growing trend here in Virginia: local governments and schools saving money through solar,” said Devin Welch, Chief Strategy Officer at Sun Tribe Solar.
“Carrie Webster and her team are doing tremendous work. We’re thrilled to continue this strong partnership and build on our existing efforts as Henrico County’s solar provider.”
The company estimates the four upcoming solar installations will provide more than 2.5 million kilowatt hours of energy for Henrico — resulting in at least $3.5 million in taxpayer savings.
“Anything that we can do to reduce that impact, conserve resources, save taxpayer money, and also do better for the environment,” Webster told 8News. “We just have a lot of opportunity to make a huge impact.”
Webster also adds the panels on top of Libbie Mill Library can cover about 25% of the building’s electricity needs. She also mentioned that the solar power the county is buying back is cheaper than what they’d buy from the power grid.