Virginia issues RFI for solar energy development project
Solar energy is a growing option for renewable energy, especially in the public sector. Public institutions of higher education, local governments and public schools often have acreage available on which to install photovoltaic systems that employ solar panels to generate clean, sustainable energy. However, when it comes to most states, other than buildings, small tracts of land, as small as a right-of way, are more the norm when considering real property state assets.
In Virginia, state officials understand both the efficiencies of solar energy and how that can affect their energy bills. But, where to put the solar panels?
Gov. Terry McAuliffe recently released a request for information (RFI) on behalf of the Virginia Office of Public-Private Partnerships (VAP3) and the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy. The RFI seeks to determine if a solar energy development on state-owned property, around that property or even on top of that property would make good financial and business sense for the state and benefit the public. That property can be facilities, real property and land adjacent to interstate highways.
McAuliffe said the state’s economy is dependent on finding innovative solutions for diversifying its options for fuel to power that economy. “My administration is committed to tapping private-sector innovation to determine how the public sector can lead by example,” said McAuliffe. The governor said issuing the RFI puts the state on the road to becoming a leader in the energy sector and showing it is serious about enhancing its solar energy industry.
Individual firms and teams of firms with experience in solar energy development projects are invited to respond to the RFI if they are interested in developing, designing, building and possibly financing a solar energy public-private partnership (P3/PPP) project with the state. The state agencies involved will be seeking information to help them evaluate their options relative to develop, finance, procure and/or deliver the project, to include identifying possible site locations.
The ultimate goal is to use state assets to grow the state’s energy sector. This program is part of the governor’s energy initiative, this one aimed at reducing energy use and costs throughout the state, diversifying the state’s energy economy through renewable energy and facilitating energy P3/PPP projects. The goal of these projects is to maximize use of state-owned property, have the state become more environmentally responsible and to raise additional revenue for the state.
Closing date for the RFI is March 13.