Dominion Virginia Power has selected Old Dominion University to be the first participant in the company's Solar Partnership Program. More than 600 solar panels will be installed this summer on the roof of ODU's Student Recreation Center in the heart of the campus and generate 132 kilowatts for the electric grid.
"This installation will pave the way for us to assess the benefits of solar facilities on our electrical distribution system," said Ken Barker, Dominion Virginia Power vice president-Customer Solutions.
"This new program is already encouraging the growth of solar energy in Virginia as many other customers have contacted us and shown interest."
The Solar Partnership Program was approved by the Virginia State Corporation Commission last November. Dominion will construct and operate up to 30 megawatts of company-owned solar facilities on leased rooftops or on the grounds of commercial businesses and public properties throughout the company's Virginia service area. Fully implemented, the program would generate enough power for 7,500 homes. Each installation could generate as much as two megawatts of electricity.
"When the program was announced last year, it was readily apparent that Old Dominion University was a perfect fit for this innovative project," said ODU President John R. Broderick.
"Our Student Recreation Center is one of the main hubs of activity on our campus and our university, as a whole, is a hub of alternative energy research. This installation is yet another example of ODU's leadership in the development of solar installations and ground-breaking solar energy research."
The 132-kilowatt solar project should generate enough power during daylight hours to supply the energy needs of approximately 35 homes. The project is expected to be completed late this summer. Energy information from the installation will be available at a lobby kiosk inside the Student Recreation Center and in Kaufman Hall, ODU's engineering school.