VA Governor visits Valley Elementary School for Solar commissioning

Wind Power was competing heavily with Solar power last Wednesday, the 25th

when Governor Terry McAuliffe flew into to Hot Springs for the commissioning of the BARC electric and Bath County Public Schools solar project. During his comments, the governor affirmed what many throughout the commonwealth have been working towards for years. The future is in renewables, and Virginia will do well to get on the bus and stay there. He began by complimenting BARC electric for proposing, financing, and along with Affordable Energy Concepts, constructing the project.

“They’ve been involved in helping communities, not only on solar, but also on broadband, and I do want to thank everyone here in Bath County for stepping up to the plate. I cannot tell you how important solar, and generating solar is for the commonwealth of Virginia”.

And, as he ran on “Virginia, Open for Business”, most of the focus of Governor McAuliffe’s comments were on the growing economy.

“It’s important for the environment, but it’s also important for job creation. I just announced last week that Facebook was coming to Virginia, and invested a billion dollars in the commonwealth of Virginia. The only reason they came in was we gave them one hundred percent renewable energy.”

So, while Facebook, and Google, and Amazon remain the companies many states compete for, here in Bath we work on making education more cost-effective.

“We’re adding 1.1 megawatts today. It’s going to supply all three of our schools. It’s fantastic for us, and they’re going to pay it back over twenty years at the existing rate, so there is no premium on solar which is spectacular.”

In the states’ economy he mentioned a variety of types of jobs available, and within those, some requiring specifically cyber skills.

“My problem is I have too many open jobs, I cannot fill. I have 140 thousand technology related jobs including solar and wind installation in the Commonwealth of Virginia. I want the students’ to listen to me very carefully. Thirty-six thousand jobs open today; starting pay is eighty-eight thousand dollars. I either fill those jobs, or those jobs go to another state.”

When the Governor finished speaking, a group of students showed him their solar- powered diorama with light up logos representing the BARC electric School System partnership, and each of the three schools.

“So I’m honored to be here. I want to thank Bath County again. I want to thank BARC for their tremendous leadership. And now per capita this is the most solar installation we’ve had of any school district in the Commonwealth of Virginia, so Congratulations to Bath County.”

In his closing comments, Brian Secoy, school Board chair mentioned again some of the individuals

“that made today possible. Mr. Mike Keyser was very patient and professional brokering the deal with the school board, and he was adamant about making sure all parties were happy at the end of the project. The BARC crew did a fantastic job. Your dedication in making this solar array a reality is unparalled.”   For your own look at these new major pieces of Bath County’s energy infrastructure, please visit Valley and Millboro Elementary Schools, or Bath County High School.



Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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