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Virginia agency aims to make solar faster, easier and more affordable

Christian Fernsby ▼ | May 27, 2020
The state’s Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy has launched a technical assistance program for solar projects.
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Virginia will have to significantly boost solar energy production to meet a legislative mandate to decarbonize its electricity grid in the next 25 years.

Topics: Virginia

That pressing timeline has prompted a state agency that oversees energy and mining development to help local governments knock down barriers to solar which now provides just 1% of the state’s electricity.

Carrie Hearne will lead the new Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy solar technical assistance program that is linked with SolSmart, a federally funded, national program. She was hired last fall to fill a new position, solar manager, at the agency’s Division of Energy.

The goal is “to make solar development faster, easier and more affordable,” Hearne said about connecting with SolSmart. “That includes creating efficiencies within localities to reduce taxpayer spending that, in turn, reduces the soft costs for installing commercial and residential solar.”

Her role covers offering specific guidance on permitting, zoning, inspections, and code needs, as well as community and utility involvement.