The Oak Hill Fund

To promote the well-being of mankind through effective and inspiring grantmaking.

PV on Campus Request for Proposals

Why support Solar Power Development in Virginia?

Currently, Virginia ranks 41st in installed solar photovoltaic capacity compared to other states, despite the fact that it has the capacity to generate 17 times more energy from solar power than it does now.1 It is clear to The Oak Hill Fund that Virginians aren't doing enough to tell utility companies and policymakers that they want a more reliable and cleaner option when it comes to electric power supply.

What is a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)?

"A state Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires utilities to use or procure renewable energy or renewable energy certificates (RECs) to account for a certain portion of their retail electricity sales. RPS laws have been enacted by 29 states from North Carolina to Texas to Montana - and the District of Columbia. These laws have resulted in cleaner air, economic development and lowered greenhouse gas pollution."2

Virginia is one of seven states which currently uses a voluntary RPS as noted (in orange) on the map below.3 Only one southeastern state, North Carolina, has a mandatory RPS.

How can we encourage more Solar Power in Virginia?

Despite the challenges with establishing a mandatory RPS, there are reasons to be optimistic about solar (and wind) in Virginia. According to one Virginia-based solar developer, the top four reasons to install solar right now are:
  1. Solar panel prices are near historic lows, but expected to rise again.
  2. Electricity rates continue to increase annually with no relief in sight.
  3. Through a PPA, non-profits, despite having no federal tax liability, can take advantage of the federal 30% investment tax credit.
  4. There may be a renewed market for solar renewable energy credits.
We would add a fifth specific to institutions of higher education.

Solar is the future, in our opinion. Attracting students and training tomorrow's leaders in the energy field and beyond while keeping tuition costs down is challenging. Solar may help with all three.

With the release of the RFP last spring, The Oak Hill Fund sought to partner with institutions that see this opportunity.

The Oak Hill Fund is excited to support The University of Richmond and the partnership of Old Dominion University and Tidewater Community College in developing solar photovoltaic installations on their campuses.

We hope to be able to offer this program on an annual basis, as policies and funding allow, supporting those institutions willing to take a leadership role in promoting the use of PV solar.

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